A joint is simply a point where two or more bones meet together. For instance, knee is a joint formed by clubbing three bones together namely – tibia, femur, and patella resembling a hinge. It provides a great range of motion to body & allows to perform routine activities like standing, running, sitting, or climbing in an extremely smooth manner. Any injury or joint disease may hamper its efficiency & restrict an individual from enjoying their life fully. Joint replacement surgery can be defined as a medical intervention which is used to treat impaired or damaged joints in the body. This clinical surgery involves removing & replacing deteriorated joint with an artificial prosthetic joint to restore its functionality.
When Is Joint Replacement Surgery Recommended?
Orthopedic surgeons mostly suggest a joint replacement surgery to the patients that fall in given category.
• Disabling Joint Pain – Patients suffering from severe arthritis disease or a disabling joint injury may find it tough even to carry out self-care activities independently. Such patients are suitable candidates for a joint replacement.
• Damaged Cartilage – A healthy cartilage is essential for minimizing friction between bones and protecting them against odds. Bones may begin to rub against each other & degrade after a certain time interval if cartilage enclosing any joint gets ruptured seriously. In such cases, a joint replacement surgery may prove beneficial.
• Failure of Conservative Methods – Doctors may advise patients to try non-surgical treatments at first. They may prescribe several medications to control & manage pain and a regular physiotherapy regime to get rid of joint pain completely. If these treatments don’t turn out helpful then respective surgeons may suggest a joint replacement surgery.
Main Types of Joint Replacement Surgery
The following points elaborate three major types of joint replacement surgery which are widely performed across the world.
• Hip Joint Replacement – This medical procedure involves taking out damaged hip joint & implanting an artificial hip prosthesis at its place. Hip replacement is usually performed for patients struggling with conditions such as intense hip pain, hip joint tumors, or a hip fracture.
• Knee Joint Replacement – It is the last resort for patients with a highly damaged knee condition. Orthopedic surgeons carefully remove painful knee & replace it with a new and healthy artificial knee to increase its range of motion.
• Shoulder Joint Replacement – This surgery can be successfully implemented to relieve stress from an impaired shoulder joint. It involves removing damaged parts of shoulder and replacing them with a suitable prosthesis. It is highly recommended to patients suffering from illnesses such as avascular necrosis, rotator cuff tear, and painful condition of arthritis.
Preparing for Joint Replacement Surgery
Patients who intend to undergo any type of joint replacement surgery should follow the given guidelines.
• Diet Plan – Patients must eat a nutritious diet containing fresh fruits and veggies. It will help them to stay fit & maintain a good health condition.
• Smoking – Habit of smoking may adversely impact patient’s overall health. In addition to this, medical experts reveal that smoking can create problems in normal blood circulation and delay healing following joint replacement surgery. Therefore, patients must completely quit this habit at the earliest.
• List of Medications – Patients should make a comprehensive list of all the drugs and medicines that they take regularly & tell it to respective orthopedic surgeons. They must also take their precise medical history report with them to help the doctors understand their current health status.
• Personal Assistance – Patients will not be able to carry out self-care activities independently until they recover. Therefore, they should ask someone to assist them throughout their healing phase.
Risks & Complications Associated with Joint Replacement Surgery
There may arise a risk of getting the enumerated complications following any kind of joint replacement surgery.
• Severe infection
• Clotting of blood
• Nerve injuries
• Loosening of prosthetic joint
• Dislocation of artificial implant
• Need of a revision surgery
Patients must select an experienced doctor who is well-versed in handling such potential complications following a joint surgery to ensure most beneficial outcomes.
Recovery Following Joint Replacement Surgery
Recovery time will differ according to the type of joint replacement surgery, particular surgical approach, and patient’s general health. Normally, doctors render medicinal supplements to help patients get over the temporary pain & uneasiness following a joint replacement procedure. Patients may use assistive mobility devices like a walker, wheelchair or a cane to carry out simple activities during this phase. However, they may not be allowed to perform operations like driving or heavy lifting as they increase the risk of dislocation of newly placed joint. Maintaining a healthy diet & strict physical therapy routine is crucial for a patient willing to heal smoothly at a faster pace.
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