Many people are able to cope for years with joint pain by losing weight, staying physically active, using a walking aid and taking pain medication. In some cases, however, joint replacement surgery becomes the most appropriate treatment.
People who need joint replacement have extensive damage that caused by arthritis, years of use and disease. At this point, the amount of pain is so severe and constant, it keeps people from being able to do simple things like walk, climb stairs or take a bath.
If you need joint replacement surgery, your orthopaedic specialist will go over everything you need to know before and after surgery so you can avoid complications and resume your life.
What happens during joint replacement surgery.
During your surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will replace your damaged joint with a new man-made joint. The length of surgery will depend on how much damage your joint has and the type of surgical procedure you need. Replacing a knee or hip joint usually takes about two hours or less. You should not feel any pain during the procedure, whether you have general anesthesia or regional, which blocks pain in one part of the body.
What to expect after joint replacement surgery.
If you have hip or knee replacement surgery, you will probably stay in the hospital for a few days. Some patients recover best by spending several weeks in an intermediate-care facility.
It’s common to experience some temporary pain in the new joint. You may need to use a walker or crutches to move about at first. Expect to start physical therapy soon after surgery. This helps strengthen the muscles around the new joint. It also helps joint motion.
+ Learn about advanced techniques used in total joint replacement at Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists, which helps patients recover faster.
+ Read about the benefits of a direct anterior approach to hip replacement surgery.