Frequently Asked Questions about Total Joint Replacement

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What is joint replacement?

Joint replacement is a surgical procedure performed to remove and replace an arthritic or damaged joint with an artificial joint, called prosthesis. Surgery can help relieve other wise constant pain. Seventy percent of joint replacements are performed because arthritis has caused the joint to stiffen and become so painful that normal daily activities are no longer possible.

Does joint replacement work?

After a knee or hip replacement, many patients experience reduced pain, increased mobility, and improved quality of life. The life of a new hip or knee depends on many factors, including the patient's pre-surgical physical condition, weight, activity level, and willingness to follow surgeon's instructions before and after surgery. Joint surgery involves potential risks and requires recovery time. Individual results may vary and only an orthopedic surgeon can determine if surgery is right for you.

When should I have this type of surgery?

Your doctor will determine if you are a potential candidate for this surgery. Their decision will be based on your medical history, exam and X-rays. Your doctor will work with you to determine if your discomfort, stiffness and disability justify undergoing surgery. There is no harm in waiting to have surgery if conservative, non-surgical methods can adequately control your discomfort.

Am I too old for this surgery?

Age is generally not a problem if you are in reasonably good health and have the desire to continue living a productive, active life. You should see your personal physician for an opinion about your general health and readiness for surgery.

How long do patients typically stay in the hospital?

A patient could typically expect to stay anywhere from 3-4 days, followed by 2-6 weeks or more of therapy, before returning to normal activities.

What kind of activities can patients expect to pursue following joint replacement?

Activity level depends on various factors, including the type of surgery, your health and your recovery. Typically, patients should be able to return to certain low-impact activities within two weeks after surgery. Surgeons generally discourage patients from jarring, high-impact activities, such as running and strenuous sports following a hip or knee replacement.