Joint Replacements FAQS
As we age we may start to notice that parts of our bodies don’t work like they used to. One issue that tends to occur more often as we get older is joint problems. A joint is the part of the body where two or more bones meet. There are many issues that can damage a healthy joint including arthritis, injuries and other diseases. Joints do wear down over time so even just years of use is enough to wear away the joint.
As the joint becomes damaged many patients report feeling pain, swelling and stiffness. These diseases that damage the joint can limit how much blood gets to the bones, which can also cause further complications. Joint replacement is becoming a very common procedure. In fact, about 1 million Americans each year have their hip or knee replaced.
Only your orthopedist will be able to determine whether the joint will need to be replaced. Through X-rays, arthroscopy and other imaging tests we can determine how severe the joint damage is and whether your condition could benefit from nonsurgical methods like physical therapy and medications or whether you will require joint replacement. For those who suffer from chronic joint pain and find moving difficult, joint replacement is often the best course of action.
Joint replacement is performed under anesthesia (either regional or general) so that you don’t experience any pain during your procedure. The damaged joint will then be removed and replaced with a prosthesis.
The prosthesis can be made from plastic, metal or a combination of the two. Some prosthesis are cemented into place so the bone will fuse with it. A cemented prosthesis is the more popular option for those who are older and for those with weaker bones. An uncemented prosthesis, on the other hand, is often recommended for those who are younger and those who lead active lifestyles, but it will take longer for an uncemented joint to heal.
Joint replacement surgery for the knee or the hip can take up to two hours to complete and the length of the procedure will depend on the type of procedure you get and whether there are any complications. After your surgery, you may be required to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. Before you leave, your orthopedic surgeon will talk you about your recovery process and about what walking aids (e.g. walker; crutches) you will use. Pain medications are usually prescribed and physical therapy may also be strongly encouraged to help strengthen the muscles around the prosthesis and to help you regain mobility in that area.
On average, a joint prosthesis lasts about 10 to 15 years, so younger patients will need to have the joint replaced again later on in life.
If you are experiencing joint pain or stiffness it’s time you saw your orthopedic surgeon to determine whether there could be damage to the joint. Visit Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Leesville, Marksville, and Deridder, LA today!