Osteoarthritis is the most common reason for total hip and total knee replacement. It was once thought to be an inevitable consequence of age and “wear and tear” processes. Today, osteoarthritis is known to be related to biomechanical and systemic factors, including obesity, genetics, and joint deformities.
Conservative options include physical therapy and medications. But when these options are no longer viable, patients should consider total joint replacement. The outcomes for knee and hip replacements tend to be very good and the response from many post-surgical patients is “I wish I had done this years before.”
What is Joint Replacement?
Total joint replacement is exactly what its name says – the replacement of a damaged, deteriorated joint with a new artificial prosthesis. In the knee, total joint replacement prostheses are usually made of stainless steel, titanium and polyethylene. They can also be made of ceramic composite to decrease functional wear rates with day-to-day activity.
Research has shown that even for octogenarians, joint replacement can offer an effective solution. Some patients who have degeneration of both hips or both knees, elect to have bilateral joint replacement surgery. Total joint replacement surgery generally takes less than two hours and is usually performed under regional anesthesia (where the patient feels nothing from the waist down).
Joint Replacement Recovery
Getting the new joint moving effectively with physical therapy is the most important part of the recovery process. This begins the day of the surgery for the knee with the use of a continuous passive motion machine, which bends and straightens the knee while the patient is resting. Most patients stand and begin to walk the morning after surgery – usually with the aid of a walker. Patients may have some temporary pain in the new joint because the muscles are weak from not being used.
A knee or hip replacement is not the same as the joints patients were born with – and, as a result, orthopaedic surgeons discourage patients from doing exhaustive physical activity (ie. martial arts, dancing, running).
Joint replacement is something you should discuss with your doctor. It is a successful procedure that can have long-ranging benefits. It can be a life-saving change for people as they regain mobility and a feeling of greater independence and health.
Angels Senior Home Solutions is a based-in-faith company that provides in-home healthcare and personal care services for seniors. Visit our website here.