While considered high-tech once, joint replacements are now deemed a common procedure.
In fact, in the U.S. alone, surgeons replace more than a million hips and knees annually.
While staggering, the figure can be attributed to the significant relief from pain (not to mention enhanced mobility) hip and knee replacement surgeries offer.
No doubt about it, hip and knee replacement can be life-changing for the right candidates.
However, it is not the treatment option for everyone suffering from knee or hip pain.
The surgical procedure performed to remove the damaged parts of the hip joint is called hip replacement.
The surgery is often the treatment option of choice if all other alternatives tried did not provide any pain relief.
Patients with ankylosing spondylitis, severe osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis are likely candidates for hip replacement surgery. However, the extent of the hip replacement will depend on the severity of the joint damage.
Hip replacement might also be the likely option for those who have hip fractures secondary to osteoporosis. In majority of the cases however, arthritis damage is the most prevalent reason for the surgery.
Otherwise known as total hip arthroplasty, hip replacement is often the recommended option once the pain becomes so severe and it interferes with the patient’s daily routines.
Patients afflicted with osteoarthritis are the most common candidates for knee replacement surgery.
The condition is common in the knees as it bears the body weight.
The procedure is considered only after other conventional treatments have failed.
Just like most major surgical procedures, knee replacement surgery also comes with certain risks like:
- Heart attacks
- Blood clots (in the leg veins or lungs)
- Nerve damage
The surgery is carried out by an orthopedic surgeon. Before the surgery takes place, physical examination is done to check for range of motion, stability, and strength of the knee.
For likely candidates of knee or hip replacement surgery, asking the right questions should be considered a crucial part of the preparation.
Below are some of the questions patients should ask:
Is the surgery the best course of treatment available at my disposal? What other treatment choices do I have?
- Will the surgery be best for someone my age?
- How far will I be able to walk without pain?
- Will I still be able to participate in any sports (i.e. swimming, golf, or tennis) that I love?
Is there anything I need to do to ensure the success of the procedure?
- Are there muscle strengthening exercises I need to do?
- Do I need to lose weight prior to the operation?
- Do I have to learn how to use walker/crutches prior to the operation?
How do I get my home ready?
- Do I need to do some rearranging?
- What are the effective ways I can make my home safer?
- How much help will I likely need?
Are there any possible surgery complications and risks?
- Will I need blood transfusion during or after?
- What are the ways I can lower the risks?
- Which medical conditions (i.e. high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease) do I need to have monitored?
What is the surgery like?
- How long will the procedure last?
- How soon after the surgery can I commence with the usual activities?
- How long do I need to stay in the hospital?
Are there any medications I need to stop taking?
- Ibuprofen, aspirin, and other arthritis drugs?
- Supplements, herbs, minerals, and vitamins?
- Other prescription drugs given by the doctor?
What preparations should I do the night prior?
- When do I need to stop drinking or eating?
- What are the necessities I need to bring?
- Are there medications I need to take before the surgery?