Unlike many surgical procedures, getting a new joint is often a matter of choice: Joint replacement can mean an end to many years of discomfort and pain, but the “when,” “why” and “who,” are up to you.
To understand more about what’s involved in a joint replacement procedure, we asked Dr. Timothy Wagner, an orthopedic surgeon at Rochester Regional Health for answers to common questions about joint replacements.
A replacement involves using parts made of metals, plastic, and sometimes ceramic to replace the cartilage that has deteriorated.
Hip and shoulder replacement procedures are similar in the fact that they are both a “ball and socket.” The femoral head (or the “ball” of the hip joint) is replaced with a titanium stem and either a ceramic or cobalt chrome head. The hip socket is replacement with a titanium hemispherical cup and a plastic (polyethylene) liner, most commonly. Shoulder replacements are also similar in their design and the materials used.
If you answer “yes” to any or all of the following questions, joint replacement may be for you:
Recovery from joint replacement surgery varies for patients based on many factors including your level of activity prior to surgery, health, conditioning and many others.
Hip replacement patients may be able to use a walker for a very short time (less than 1 week) and transition to cane for a short period as well before getting around completely independently.
Knee replacement patients often need an ambulatory aid, like a walker or cane for slightly longer.
After a shoulder replacement procedure, you should be able to pick up activities gradually, based on your surgeon’s recommendation.
Patients can expect to be driving a car two to four weeks after surgery. Between 6 and 16 weeks after surgery many patients are able to enjoy the activities they love like golf, doubles tennis or bowling.
Surgical approaches vary for both hip and knee replacement so be sure to ask your surgeon how he or she performs the operation, the pros and cons, and what best suits you for a speedy recovery.
Rochester Regional Health offers the full range of joint replacement surgery options, using the latest minimally invasive techniques. Learn about our expert orthopedic surgeons and the procedures available.Learn More
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