Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know if I am a candidate for joint replacement surgery?
A: After reviewing your medical history, taking X-rays and performing various examinations, your doctors will decide with you if you are in fact a good candidate for joint replacement surgery. You will be asked about your level of pain, stiffness and disability in order to justify undergoing surgery. Your doctor can help you decide if surgery is necessary and whether or not delaying surgery is harmful.
Talk to your surgeon about your specific symptoms including:
• Pain is the principal indication for joint replacement.
• Functional limitations–such as difficulty climbing stairs or walking more than a short distance—are rarely an indication for joint replacement alone. However, functional limitations are almost always associated with debilitating pain and therefore lead to the need for intervention.
• Stiffness alone can sometimes be an indication for surgery. Joint replacement surgery may lead to dramatic functional improvement.
Q: Does joint replacement surgery work?
A: Many factors, including your physical condition, weight, activity level, personal anatomy and willingness to comply with your surgeon’s instructions prior to and after surgery will play an important role in your recovery. As always when undergoing surgery, there are potential risks and recovery time is required. Your orthopaedic surgeon can determine if surgery is the right option for you. Keep in mind that individual results may vary, but that many people can expect improvements with mobility and pain.
Q: How long will I be in the hospital?
A: In most cases, modern surgical techniques allow patients to be discharged in two-four days.
Q: When will I be “me” again?
A: You should expect six weeks or more of physical therapy before you can completely resume your normal activities. In general, however, you should be able to partake in certain low-impact activities not long after surgery. This will depend on multiple factors, including your health, the type of surgery and your recovery. Typically surgeons discourage patients from any high impact activities such as running and other strenuous sports.
Q: What can I do to improve my long term results?
A: Managing your weight and post-surgical activities can affect your long term results. Please discuss these and any other risk factors with your surgeon.
Q: Are there reasons why I would not be a good candidate for this surgery?
A: Factors that might result in a poor outcome include: systemic infections, poor blood supply, ulcers and nerve disease or damage, psychiatric disease or dementia. Obesity, especially morbid obesity, can also be a contraindication.
Q: Is there a maximum age limit for joint replacement surgery?
A: Consult your physician about your general health and your ability to withstand surgery. In general age is not a factor if you are in reasonably good health and you have the desire to continue pursuing an active and productive life.
Q: What possible complications are involved with joint replacement surgery?
A: Complications linked to joint replacement surgery are uncommon, however they do occur. Complications which can occur during and/or after surgery include, but are not limited to infection, implant breakage, blood clots, premature wear and mal-alignment.
If one of these complications should occur additional surgery may be required. Various measures including prescribing antibiotics and blood thinners before and after surgery may be recommended by your surgeon to avoid these complications. In addition, some pain and stiffness can remain. Managing your weight and post-surgical activities can affect your long term results.
Please discuss these and any other risk factors with your surgeon.
More information about Hip Replacement
More information about Knee Replacement
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