Our joints are some of the most important parts of our body when it comes to moving around. Without them, we couldn’t move at all. And when they become damaged beyond our body’s ability to heal them, our ability to function becomes severely compromised.
Fortunately, we have the means to replace them via joint replacement surgery. What does this surgery involve, and what do you need to know before undergoing a procedure?
Joint Replacement Surgery Explained
Joint replacement surgery is a procedure in which we replace a damaged natural joint with an artificial one, usually made out of metal (typically titanium or cobalt-chromium alloys) and plastic (polyethylene). You can also have a joint made out of ceramics.
Virtually any joint in the body is a candidate for replacement. Knee replacement surgery is perhaps the most common replacement procedure performed, but you can also replace a hip, shoulder, finger, or ankle.
The procedure itself is invasive and requires general anesthesia, but the vast majority of joint replacement surgeries succeed and allow for a better quality of life for the patient.
What Are the Benefits?
There are two major benefits to getting your joints replaced by an orthopedic surgeon: mobility and pain relief.
The main issue is that people cannot move or function very well. Sometimes this keeps them from being athletically active. In many cases, the patient has trouble with just walking, writing, driving, turning door knobs, or performing other simple functions.
Another issue is pain. A damaged joint can be very painful, especially if the joint has been worn away extensively.
In either case, replacing the joint can potentially fix those problems and restore mobility while removing the source of pain and discomfort.
How Long Will It Take Me to Heal?
There’s no set amount of time it takes to heal and recover. It all depends on the procedure itself and the patient’s health, physical condition, lifestyle, and body type.
Typically, a patient has to be hospitalized for two to five days to make sure the swelling from the surgery goes down and everything looks good to go. After release, a patient may need to go to physical therapy to rehab.
If they get proper rest and take care of themselves, and follow orders from a doctor or therapist, most people will get back to normal life within several weeks.
Will I Be Able to Play Sports or Exercise?
Most patients are able to resume athletic activity following a joint replacement surgery, at least to some extent. You may not be able to exercise as strenuously or do everything you once could, but with proper care, you should be able to exercise or play sports recreationally. Many patients get right back into the swing of things and stay very active, even after surgery. It depends on the person, the surgery, and what your surgeon says.
Finding an Orthopedic Surgeon Who Cares
At Regional Medical Center, we have a staff of trained and experienced orthopedic surgeons who care. Our surgeons have many years of experience performing joint replacement surgery for all kinds of people, and have had great success.
Talk to our team to see if joint replacement surgery is right for you, and find out what the next steps are to regain mobility and get rid of pain.