The Joint Replacement Pre- and Post-Surgery Journey
Whether it was an injury or the natural aging process that caused damage to your joint, your joint replacement journey has begun. While any type of surgery can be intimidating, a joint replacement can help you achieve better mobility and make it easier to go back to the activities you love. Joint replacement surgery takes a lot of planning by your orthopedic surgeon, and it’s natural to have questions along the way. In this post, we’re going to outline the joint replacement journey so you have a better understanding of what’s ahead.
Talking to Your Orthopedic Surgeon
The first step of your joint replacement journey is talking to your orthopedic surgeon to discuss your unique needs. Once they determine joint replacement surgery is your best treatment option, your doctor will likely go through how to care for yourself before surgery. This usually includes:
- Undergoing a medical evaluation that will look at your physical and mental health to ensure you're a good candidate for surgery.
- Discuss your current body weight since a body mass index of over 40 increases your risk of complications during joint replacement surgery. Orthopedic staff can help develop a nutrition plan to help you manage your body weight if needed.
- The risks of joint replacement surgery are elevated when the patient smokes. Orthopedic doctors recommend you be smoke-free for at least 30 days before your surgery.
What to Expect the Day of Your Surgery
No matter whether you’re getting hip or shoulder replacement surgery, the process will look relatively the same. The first place you’ll visit on the day of your surgery is the preoperative area. This room is where you’ll change for the surgery, and the orthopedic surgeon will mark where the surgical site is.
The anesthesia team will come visit you to discuss your options. Usually, the two main options you’ll have are spinal anesthesia and general anesthesia. With spinal anesthesia, you’ll get an injection in your lower back that will block the pain sensation to the area of the body being operated on. One of the key advantages of spinal anesthesia for joint replacement surgery is that pain management after your surgery usually goes much smoother.
General anesthesia keeps your body in a deep sleep that is initiated by an IV. Once you’re asleep, a breathing tube is put in to make sure you stay sedated throughout your joint replacement surgery.
Your Recovery from Joint Replacement Surgery
After the surgery is complete, you’ll start your journey of recovery. The time it takes to recover from joint replacement surgery varies depending on how each patient reacts individually. The normal recovery for a hip replacement is two to six months, which is a shorter time window than a knee replacement since it’s a simpler joint.
In most cases, you’ll be able to return home from hip, shoulder or knee replacement surgery within 24 hours. From there, you’ll begin your rehabilitation plan and start physical therapy in about a week’s time if it’s needed. No matter what type of joint replacement surgery you have, expect to be moving shortly after you return home. By starting to walk after your surgery, you’ll actually be reducing your risk of developing a postoperative blood clot.
How Long Does a New Joint Last?
One of the most common questions people have after joint replacement surgery is how long their new joint will last. On average, a new hip, knee or shoulder joint will hold up for anywhere between 15-20 years. The good news is that as technology advances, this number will only get higher. If you have any questions about the differences between the manufacturers of new joints, your orthopedic doctor can help you find the answers.
Discover Expert Orthopedic Care in Madison, IN
At King’s Daughters’ Health, we provide expert orthopedic care in Madison, IN, for all ages. We have a team of doctors and nurses who specialize in joint replacement surgery. They’re dedicated to providing you with excellent care from start to finish. Our team prides itself on treating each patient like family as they work to find the best path forward based on your individual needs. Learn more about the joint replacement program at King’s Daughters’ Health by contacting us today.