Debunking Common Misconceptions About Joint Replacement Surgery
More than 600,000 Americans undergo joint replacement surgery every year. By 2030, that number is expected to increase by nearly 200%. Joint replacement can give people with debilitating chronic joint pain a new lease of life by relieving pain and restoring joint function.
Unfortunately, due to fear and misinformation, 90% of patients wait too long to get surgery. To provide patients with the whole picture and help them make informed decisions, we’ve addressed some of the common myths people believe about joint replacement surgeries.
Myth #1: You Should Wait Until You Can’t Walk
The more you delay joint replacement, the more severe the damage becomes. The consequent increase in pain and discomfort can discourage physical activity resulting in weight gain. This places more pressure on the joints and can make the surgery and recovery process more complex.
The pain and discomfort in your joints can result in restricted mobility, bad posture, and increased risks of falling and injuring yourself.
Myth #2: Age Limitations
Though the majority of people who get joint replacements are between 50 to 85 years old, you are not too young or too old for this surgery. After all, joint overuse and injury can happen at any age.
If exercise, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and even strong anti-inflammatory drugs are inefficient at helping you manage pain, you might have to discuss joint replacement surgery with your doctor.
It is important to note that the older you get, the more time your body takes to heal and regain its strength. So, your age might impact the length of your recovery period. Your doctor will consider your age, overall health, other medical conditions, and lifestyle before recommending joint replacement as an option for you.
Myth #3: Permanent Physical Restrictions
If you are suffering from chronic joint pain, your mobility is already restricted. Joint replacement aims to remedy this by partially or totally replacing damaged joints. In most cases, within 24 hours of the surgery, the patient is asked to take a few steps with the aid of a walker or physical therapist.
Though most patients report 90% recovery after three months, it might differ from patient to patient. You need to discuss with your doctor and set realistic expectations for your unique situation before surgery.
Myth #4: Longer Hospital Stay & Recovery Period
Compared to joint replacement procedures of the past, minimally invasive surgical procedures allow for faster recovery. You typically will have outpatient surgery or an overnight stay; however, your doctor might recommend you work with a physical therapist while you recover at home.
You will initially experience pain around the surgery area and will be expected to take it easy for the first few weeks—no intense physical activity. With the help of your doctor and physical therapist, you can figure out the best ways to manage post-surgery pain, strengthen the muscles around your joint, and return to your normal life.
If you are experiencing intense joint pain, stiffness, or discomfort, get in touch with Dr. Matthew D. Barber, M.D. by calling us at (251) 410-3600 or through our website. We would love to help you discuss your options, both surgical and non-surgical, and find out if joint replacement is the right option for you.
While Dr. Barber focuses exclusively on the management of knee and hip problems with a focus on joint replacement procedures, he is proud to be a source of information for patients and has several specialist partners at ALABAMA ORTHOPAEDIC CLINIC who are available to treat any orthopaedic condition.