Total joint replacement is not something that should be taken lightly. The most important thing you can do is make sure to see a specialist if you have pain in any joint or if your extremity functions are being limited.
The longer you wait and the more chronic the issue becomes, the more difficult the condition is to treat and the likelihood of complications increases. We strongly advocate that if you suspect any type of issue, you should be evaluated immediately. If you wait too long to see a specialist, you can limit your treatment options and the success of the procedure.
Here at MSS, pain and function are the two main drivers when we are looking at our patients. Our goal is to relieve pain and increase function and range of motion as much as possible.
If you and your specialist decide that a total joint replacement procedure is the best route for you, there will be a lot of steps to go through before the procedure takes place. Leading up to any surgery, the main goal is making sure the patient is as healthy as possible to avoid any complications.
Any type of mitigating factor, such as a heart condition, is vital to have checked out prior to the procedure. If you do have a heart condition, you will have to see your cardiologist to make sure your heart is as healthy as possible.
Some of those underlying medical conditions are the most important aspect of the pre-surgery process. It’s also a smart idea to make sure patients have proper nutrition so their wounds heal quickly and properly. If their nutrition is low, the chance of infection becomes much higher.
One other important factor that surgeons and physicians must address is eliminating smoking leading up to the procedure. These are all things that the surgeon has to take into account leading up to the surgery. The main goal is to make sure the patient is as healthy as possible before surgery because that is when we see the best overall outcomes.
Generally, a combination of metal and plastic is used to replace the damaged joint and damaged cartilage. High molecular weight polyethylene is a common component that’s used as the plastic component.
There are different combinations of metal that can be formed as a joint replacement. Alloys such as cobalt, chromium, and titanium are used for smaller joints similar to the hand.
There are also different forms of silicone that can be used in artificial joints as well. It all depends on the joint being replaced and the due diligence of the orthopedic center. It is vitally important that your physicians and surgeons know the different areas that they’re operating on and what type of implant is best for them.
Certain implants work better for the shoulder joint while others work better for the wrist. Different orthopedic centers will have their own nuances and own benefits, but the surgeon has to be well-versed in the part of the body that they’re operating on to know what the best solution is.
Even the most straightforward and routine procedure comes with heavy risk. Complications can include infection, scarring, loss of blood, or even pain that requires future surgery. The specific complications really depend on the individual procedure, which is why strong communication with your surgeon is vital.
When it comes to the day of the procedure, our goal at MSS is to have you comfortable in your home and sleeping in your own bed later that same day. We’ve found that patients appreciate that comfort and have better outcomes because of it.
Following the procedure, patients tend to notice a different type of pain that’s usually from the procedure itself. People progress at different rates, but it typically takes about four months for patients to see the full benefit of the procedure they had. You will see incremental changes over time and will feel a little better each day.
Certain procedures, such as arthroscopy, can be performed to clean up some joints, but it depends on the underlying issue. In order to have the most options available to you, it’s vital that you catch the disease early on in the process.
People with arthritis in their hands have treatment options such as injections, occupational therapy, and less invasive procedures that can alleviate pain.
As we’ve touched on, the most important thing you can do if joint pain is starting to affect your daily activities is to see a specialist right away. They will give you a list of possible options and what their expected outcomes will be.