Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 11.10.38 AMWhen your joints hurt, it’s hard to enjoy everyday life as simple movements, such as walking, climbing stairs, and bending can be extremely painful. It can even be difficult sleep. Although we offer several treatment options for managing pain, for some people, a joint replacement surgery may be needed to relieve the discomfort.

What is Joint Replacement Surgery?

Joint replacement surgery is a procedure done to remove a damaged or arthritic joint. Once the bad joint is removed, it’s replaced with an artificial one that’s made to duplicate the motions of healthy normal joints. Joint replacement components are made from materials, such as plastics and metals that are not reactive to the body. In addition to relieving joint pain, total joint replacement surgeries also help restore joint function. If you think you may benefit from this surgical procedure, here’s what you need to know about it, along with some guidelines for preparing your home and recovering from surgery.

Total vs. Partial Joint Replacement Surgery

Partial replacement surgeries are generally recommended for people with isolated arthritis, fractures or a diseased humerus or femur bone that doesn’t involve the shoulder or hip socket. A partial joint replacement lets a patient retain more natural tissue, bone and ligaments than if a total joint replacement was done. However, people who suffer with severe arthritis or a disease that affects the ball and socket of the shoulder or hip usually need a total joint replacement. A total joint replacement can also be done for elbows, ankles, spines, feet and hands.  

How Total Joint Replacement Surgery Has Improved

Perhaps you’ve heard stories from your friends or relatives who had total joint replacement surgeries years ago. Fortunately, both the technology and surgical methods used in total joint replacement surgery have improved significantly in the last few years. Besides being more effective, total joint replacements are also safer and easier than they used to be. For example:

  • Implants for knee and hip replacement are more flexible, durable and long-lasting. In fact, they can continue to be pain-free and comfortable for as long as two decades.
  • Consider that today’s surgical techniques are less invasive and involve smaller and fewer incisions, so people recover quicker and have less discomfort.

Safety Precautions to Check Before You Have Surgery

  • Arrange for help with transportation and housework during your recovery period.
  • If you live in a multi-level home, set up a living area on one floor because it can be hard and unsafe to climb stairs.
  • Make sure there are no loose rugs in your home.
  • Check your stairway to be sure it has secure handrails.
  • Install safety bars in a bath or shower that can help keep you safe while bathing or showering.

Recovery Guidelines

  • Most patients have a hospital stay of two to four days, although they have to get up on their feet and moving the same day as the surgery.
  • Physical therapy begins shortly after surgery in which a rehabilitation specialist devises a customized therapy plan just for you.
  • You’ll need to allow about three months to resume most of your activities.
  • It can take roughly six to 12 months to recover fully. Of course, how fast you recover depends on factors, such as your overall health and physical condition.
  • Expect to use a walker or crutches for a few weeks following your surgery.

For any questions you may have, don’t hesitate to call Hampton Roads Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Please contact us and learn more about our wide range of services. We offer a minimally invasive direct anterior approach to total hip replacement that leaves minimal scarring and fewer restrictions during recovery.