Three Steps to Successful Joint Replacement
Every day I have patients come into my office asking me to fix their pain. Frequently, my patients seem to either be interested in how joint replacement surgery can help or state that they would never consider having surgery.
If you experience frequent joint pain, you probably know which direction you tend to lean.
Joint replacement surgery might be the right solution for your ongoing joint pain. When I talk to patients about joint replacement surgery, I highlight the three main steps toward a successful joint replacement. We want to decrease your pain, improve your mobility, and avoid complications.
Step 1 – Remove the cause of your pain
The number one complaint of most patients in any orthopedic surgeon’s office is pain. For older patients, this is frequently joint pain and most commonly knee, hip or shoulder pain.
When I perform a joint replacement surgery, we shave away the painful pot-holed (or moon-surface) cartilage and re-cap the ends of the bones with a combination of metal, plastic or ceramic. This process is very successful at decreasing a patient’s pain, once recovered from surgery.
Step 2 – Hit the links or play with grandchildren
Many patients think they are getting a bionic knee, hip or shoulder that will make them stronger or allow them to move faster and more effortlessly. While this description may seem quite grand, joint replacement is typically very good at improving your mobility, balance, and helping you do the activities that make life enjoyable.
I judge the success of a joint replacement on how well it gets my patients back to doing what they love – and by this standard, they are overall very successful surgeries.
Step 3 – Avoid complications
Complications in joint replacement are relatively rare, with around 1 or 2 patients out of 100 having their recovery limited by a complication. The risk of these complications occurring increases in patients with more complex medical histories that include smoking, obesity, diabetes, poor nutrition or chronic kidney disease.
Part of the process of performing a joint replacement is making sure we have done everything possible to optimize your health prior to surgery.
The bottom line?
Life is all about choices. You need to consider what is most important to you and what your goals are for the rest of your life.
If your knee, hip, or shoulder are keeping you from enjoying the things you love, then it might be time to consider joint replacement.
Dr. Scott Gelman is a Frederick Health Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in knee, shoulder and hip replacement. He has a special interest in rapid recovery and advanced pain control, anterior hip replacement and total knee replacement as well as complex revisions of failed hip and knee replacement. He believes in an individualized, patient centered approach that focuses on returning each patient to their maximum function.
He lives in Middletown, MD with his wife and three small children where they love to go on family hikes and spend time with family and friends.