When to Have Joint Replacement
For many people, deciding when to have joint replacement surgery may take months or even years. Joint replacement surgery is a major undertaking that requires careful preparation and focused rehabilitation.
Not too long ago, doctors advised patients to wait as long as they possibly could in order to avoid multiple joint replacements over a lifetime. But today, we know that most artificial joints last more than 20 years, and the health risks of disability are often too high to prolong the wait. As cartilage thins and the bones of the joint begin rubbing against each other, pain increases and forces people to slow down. The result can trigger a downward spiral of inactivity and weight gain – two factors that not only increase the likelihood of disability but also put people at greater risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Should You Have Joint Replacement?
So, how do you know when it’s time? Sutter Health experts encourage patients to consider the following:
- Have you been seeing a doctor and tried other modalities like pain relievers, physical therapy and weight loss with little relief?
- Is your pain getting worse over time?
- Have you stopped doing activities you love because of the pain?
- Are you able to perform basic daily functions like getting dressed, climbing stairs or driving?
- Does your pain keep you awake at night or wake you from your sleep?
- Has your doctor recommended you for joint replacement?
Patient Story: Knee ReplacementMillbrae resident Penny Rubis lived with pain for years until her decision to undergo partial knee replacement at Mills Peninsula Medical Center. Today, she’s pain free and playing tennis again.
- Joint pain assessment
- Choosing an orthopedic surgeon
- Covering the cost of joint replacement
- Patient stories