While planning for a joint replacement surgery, it is natural to have a list of questions that you’d want to ask your doctor. Afterall it is about a part of your body that is going to be replaced with an artificial implant, and it’s important for you to know how your life will be after the surgery. This will help you plan your surgery and post surgery care better. Here are a some of the frequently asked questions by patients heading for a joint replacement surgery. You might relate to them too. So take a quick read to have your questions answered.
Is a joint replacement permanent?
Usually the artificial joint implant is designed in such a way that it functions as naturally as your natural joints do. It is usually chosen by people above the age of 40, and don’t really need a revision replacement surgery. Nevertheless, it has now become quite common among younger people having arthritic conditions and some who have had major accidents. The prosthesis wears off after 15-20 years which might need a revision surgery.
How long will it take to recover from a total knee replacement?
After a total knee replacement, you will be treated by a physical therapist who will help you with certain exercises during your recovery. With the help of the therapy, you will be able to start walking easily after three months, and will probably be completely pain-free by six months.
What is a revision replacement surgery?
A revision joint replacement surgery is a redo of a hip joint or a knee joint replacement, which is essentially done when the artificial joint wears off, if the previous surgery fails, or if there’s an infection that develops. It is a complex surgical procedure, since it involves many complex implants, or even the entire prosthesis that might need to be replaced.
How long after a joint replacement will I need a walker?
If you’ve had a total hip joint replacement or a total knee replacement, you will most probably need a walker for support for at least a month. In case of partial joint replacements since it’s a small part of the joint that’s replaced, you can get yourself off the walker in a week’s time.
When can I go home after the surgery?
There are many things that need to be taken into consideration before, during and after the surgery in terms of having a safe surgery with lasting effect. One of the main aspects is your general health. Your discharge and recovery depends on your overall health to a large extent. If you are healthy with no medical problems, you can either stay overnight, or go home the same day of your surgery. In case you are obese, diabetic, or have any other health condition, you will have to be under observation to check how your recovery is fairing and then go home in a couple of days.
How soon after a joint replacement surgery can I start driving?
With proper care, regular physical therapy, and following your doctor’s instructions properly, you can resume driving within a month.
When will the staples be removed after a joint replacement surgery?
With the advanced technology that medical science has brought in, there usually is no need for staples to be used. Instead, we use a superglue to close the skin after the surgery. We usually perform minimally invasive joint replacement surgeries that don’t need staples to be used. However, in some cases where we cannot avoid larger incisions, we do use staples which are removed two weeks after the surgery.
Will I need a nurse at home post my discharge from the hospital?
Yes. You will need someone to help you for a couple of days, but it also depends on your health status. If you are a healthy individual in general, and have no severe health issues, you might need someone to help your for the first few days after your surgery. But, if you’re someone who has diabetes or a high blood pressure problem, asthma, a cardiac or neurological condition, you will need someone to nurse you for a bit longer than usual.