Total Joint Replacement: 4 Questions To Ask Before Getting Hip Surgery

The Last Resort For Hip Pain

There comes a time where a doctor will sit a patient down to discuss surgery. Persons with severe hip conditions are more likely to have this conversation. More than 300,000 patients opt for a total joint replacement each year. The protective cartilage and bone begin to degrade due to arthritis, injury, or bone spurs. At this point, surgery is often the only option for a better quality of life.

Understanding total hip replacement

With the bone and cartilage degraded or damaged, simple tasks like walking and standing become difficult. Total hip replacement or arthroscopy seeks to remove the damaged parts and install synthetic components. Using a minimally invasive procedure, surgeons clean and reshape the ball-and-socket joint of the hip. The doctor then replaces the joint with a prosthetic one. But this is just the start. There are other vital pieces of information that can help patients through the process. Make sure to ask these 4 questions before opting for hip surgery.

1. What do I need to do for a successful procedure?

Both patient and surgeon must work hand-in-hand to ensure all goes well. For starters, make sure to reveal all medication and supplements before surgery. If applicable, the patient may need to quit smoking or lose weight to make the process and recovery more comfortable. Finally, make sure to have help leaving the hospital and moving around during recovery. Excess movement can undo the surgeon’s work and may need correcting again.

2. How long will recovery take?

On average, doctors advise patients of a 12-week recovery timeline. Immediately after surgery, patients go through a rehab process, including physical therapy. Therapy helps patients strengthen the surrounding bones and joints. The body can also get accustomed to the new prostheses. By the 6-week mark, walking becomes much more manageable. At about 12 weeks, patients start to feel normal again. Optimal recovery comes down to consistency in therapy, careful movement, and close monitoring of progress.

3. Are there any potential complications?

All surgical procedures have possible complications. A total hip replacement is no exception, although the overall risk level is low for most patients. Bleeding, infection at the surgical site, or blood clots may happen. In minor cases, the replacement may fail, needing additional surgery. Overall, surgery has a 90% success rate; however, make sure to discuss any concerns with the surgeon.

4. How long will the joint replacement last?

Studies show the prosthetic can last as long as 10-15 years. There are some cases where the replacement lasts even longer. Getting used to the replacement takes time. However, with care, exercise, and healthy habits, the artificial joint will last for years.

The more you know

Getting a total joint replacement sounds scary, and that’s understandable. These joints are vital parts of movement. Armed with the right information, patients can feel more at ease before the procedure. Make sure to follow the doctor’s instructions not only before surgery but afterward. Only with work can patients get the best out of the new joint.


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