One researcher, who studied Hip and Knee Joint Replacement patients, identified four phases of Joint Replacement:
“The advantages of finally committing to joint replacement include relief from chronic pain, a repair that will last up to 20 years and the ability to resume your daily activities, as well as some of your favorite recreational activities,” say McLeod Orthopedic Specialist Dr. Michael Sutton. “Surgery isn’t the first treatment we try on an aching joint, but a patient shouldn’t wait too long when offered the option of surgery.”
DELAYING TOO LONG
When patients are healthy, other than in their joint, they often do much better recovering from surgery. The greatest risk of delaying too long is allowing problems, such as osteoarthritis, to continue wearing down the already ragged joint. Waiting also presents the possibility that the chronic pain will cause you to favor the other leg or hip, resulting in odd waking gait, placing to much stress to the “good” joint, causing it to deteriorate.
Delaying joint replacement can also lead to a weakening of the muscles surrounding the bad joint, making rehabilitation more difficult, leading to the possibility that the patient may never regain full strength.
In addition to the low chance of serious complications, women have fewer complications than men. Yet, women are more likely to put off hip or knee joint replacement surgery than men. A 2017 study of women who’d recently had a joint replacement after waiting a few years found that they:
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
Only you can decide what the right time is to proceed with Hip or Knee Joint Replacement surgery.
Talk with an Orthopedic Specialist about what to expect from the procedure, how will your pain be managed and whether you will need physical therapy. Ask for the Specialist’s recommendation. Then, talk with your family and decide. Remember, you’re not alone. More than 7 million people in this country have had a knee or hip replacement.
Sources include: McLeod Health, Arthritis Foundation, Arthritis Digest, Kent State University, Foundation for the Advancement of Research in Medicine, Consumer Reports