5 Myths About Joint Replacement That May Be Keeping You in Pain
If your knees or hips are causing you constant pain, you may have thought about undergoing surgery to have them replaced. But are myths holding you back?
If your knees or hips are causing you constant pain, you may have thought about undergoing surgery to have them replaced. But are myths about joint replacement holding you back? We asked Michael Bloomfield, MD, about the most common misconceptions.
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One good way to tell if you should start thinking about surgery is if your pain affects your daily routine, Dr. Bloomfield says.
“In the meantime, do reasonable things to address the problem. This can include steps such as taking anti-inflammatory medications if medically appropriate and modifying your activity,” Dr. Bloomfield says. “But when symptoms interfere with your life, or when pain keeps you up at night, it’s time to see an orthopaedic specialist.”
There is no age requirement for joint replacement. With improved implant technology, younger patients have less risk of needing repeat surgeries due to parts wearing out.
“Age is not a cut-off in and of itself,” Dr. Bloomfield says. “There are 90-year- olds in better physical condition than some 60-year-olds. When your independence is threatened or you can no longer retain an active lifestyle, the time is right.”
With proper therapy, most people can achieve a higher level of function than before surgery. Dr. Bloomfield cautions against running long distances. But he encourages activities like bicycling and swimming, which have less impact on joints.
While it’s unrealistic to expect no pain after surgery, postsurgical pain should be on the low end of the scale, Dr. Bloomfield says. Also, proper anesthesia control during surgery helps to address a patient’s post-surgical pain, he says.
Today, most patients return home within two days after surgery and complete their rehabilitation there.
Studies show patients get the best outcomes when their procedure is handled by a surgeon who does a high number of the procedure at a medical facility that also handles a high volume of such surgeries.
“Find a surgeon you trust, and remember that experience counts. You never get a second chance to make it right the first time,” Dr. Bloomfield says.
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