Is Joint Replacement Major Surgery?

Before undergoing joint surgery, it is essential to understand whether the joint replacement is the right choice. A joint forms where the ends of two or more bones meet. Joint pain occurs when the cartilage that lines the ends of the bones is damaged, either from fracture, arthritis, or another condition. Some conditions cause joint pain and disability, getting patients to consider orthopedic surgery


When is Joint Replacement Recommended?

Joint replacement is major surgery, and it is essential to be aware of the potential risks and complications. The dangers of a joint replacement surgery may include problems with infection, anesthesia, blood clots, damage to nerves or blood vessels, or bleeding from your incision. These are, however, rare cases. 

If non-surgical treatments such as medications, physical therapy, or sports medicine do not decrease and relieve your pain, an orthopedist will most likely recommend total joint replacement. If a joint is damaged beyond repair or suffering from arthritis, you may need to replace or remove your joint altogether.

How to Prepare for Surgery?

The surgical team and your care doctor will prepare you for the joint replacement surgery weeks before. They will check your general health, take a blood test and a cardiogram. Additionally, you must prepare yourself physically by exercising and eating right. You can also plan with getting assistive items such as handrails, a shower bench, or a long-handled reacher. By doing so, you will ensure a smooth and speedy recovery.

What to Know About the Surgical Procedure

A total joint replacement surgery can last for a few hours, performed in a hospital or a surgery center. The damaged cartilage will be taken out along with any remaining bone shards, and it will be replaced with a prosthetic made of metal, plastic, or ceramic.

The prosthetic will mimic the shape and movement of your natural joint. Let’s consider the arthritic hip as an example. The damaged ball (the upper end of the femur) will be replaced with a metal ball attached to a metal stem fitted into the femur. A plastic socket will then be implanted into the pelvis, thereby replacing the damaged socket. 

Recovery Process

The recovery process differs from person to person. Your orthopedist may encourage you to use your newly installed joint shortly after the surgery. While it may seem a little challenging, it may speed your recovery. 

Most patients can experience some temporary pain due to the weakness and inactivity of the surrounding muscles. But the body will slowly adjust to the new joint, the tissue will heal, and the pain should be relieved in a few months. Exercises are another critical part of the recovery process, as they will restore movement and strengthen your joints. 

When it comes to long-term outcomes, learn that the vast majority of patients will be able to perform daily activities a lot easier after the joint replacement injury. The surgery will provide patients with an improved quality of life, including less or no pain whatsoever, improved motion and strength.

Finally, understand that joint replacement surgery may be a traumatic procedure. Give yourself the time you need to heal. Whether you are going to physical therapy, it is essential to stay active and exercise your joints for mobility, strength, and flexibility. 

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