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 What is joint replacement?  
When arthritis or other conditions cause chronic pain that inhibits activity and can’t be addressed through medications, physical therapy or other treatments, replacing the affected joint can help. Joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which a worn out or injured joint, most often the knee or hip, is replaced with a metal, ceramic or plastic joint. For many people, a new minimally invasive joint replacement technique requires a much smaller incision, shorter hospital stay, less time for recovery and less trauma on surrounding muscles and tissues.
This surgery has been widely used for many years with excellent results, especially with knees and hips. Other joints, such as shoulders, elbows and knuckles, may also be replaced.
 Is joint replacement right for me?  
Growing numbers of people are active well into their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. Those with active lifestyles (baby boomers in particular) are experiencing more wear and tear, and consequent pain, at a younger age. While the benefits and risks of any surgery should be discussed in detail with your orthopedic surgeon, joint replacement can often be even more successful when you are active and in good health.
If you:
  • Are unable to sleep at night because of the pain;
  • Have tried medications and they haven't alleviated the pain or the medication you have been on no longer works:
  • Feel that the pain from your arthritis is keeping you from regular activities such as visiting friends, going shopping or taking a vacation: or
  • Have to restrict your activity to the point where you have trouble getting out of a chair or bed, going up stairs or just moving.
 What are the primary benefits of joint replacement surgery?  
Typical benefits include:  
  • Improved movement and use of a joint. Surgery can replace or stabilize the joint, allowing you to stand and walk more easily.
  • Pain relief. Surgery can relieve pain that doesn't respond to other treatment options.
  • Improved alignment of deformed joints. Re-aligning the joints can improve the functioning of those joints, and create cosmetic improvements.
 Will there be a lot of pain after the surgery?  
While the new, minimally invasive procedures available through our Joint Replacement Center require a smaller incision and less recovery time, some pain will accompany it as it does with any surgical procedure. Anesthesiologists and pain management specialists, also part of the Joint Replacement Center team, work with each patient to control pain. Many factors, including your tolerance for pain, physical condition and level of activity prior to your surgery will impact the level of pain you may experience.
 How long does an artificial joint last?  
It's impossible to predict how long a new joint will last, since factors such as age, weight, activity level and bone strength determine the final outcome. If your new joint loosens over time, it may be necessary to repeat the surgery. It's likely that your new joint will bring you years of pain-free activity. With the new materials and components, most people have a 90 percent or greater success rate at 20 years after surgery.
 What type of follow up care will be provided after I leave the hospital?  
Rehabilitation is crucial to recovery from joint replacement. You’ll be encouraged to move in a matter of hours following your surgery. Nursing and physical therapy staff works closely with you to ensure that you understand your role in the rehabilitation process. Your care team will review your home therapy plan with you in detail before you leave the hospital and help you arrange for outpatient therapy options. Joint Replacement Center staff is always available to provide information and support in the weeks following surgery.
 After having joint replacement surgery, will I need the assistance of a walking device  such as a cane or a walker?  
After surgery, you should be able to walk without the assistance of a device, and you should be essentially pain-free after a full recovery. If there is overuse of the new joint, muscle fatigue may occur, causing you to require the use of a cane for a short period of time.
 Is joint replacement a good idea at my age (72)?  
We think of age as only one of the parameters when determining candidacy for joint replacement. Many patients who are chronologically in their seventh and eighth decades are physiologically much younger. More important than age are the underlying medical conditions which might shorten life expectancy or the lack of any underlying diseases and a genetic predisposition to a long life span. In any case, at 72 if you maintain an active lifestyle and are desirous of long-term pain relief, you certainly would be a candidate for the procedure. Assuming there are no medial contraindications to knee replacement, joint replacement at your age is generally safe.
 My doctor told me that I have advanced arthritis in my knee. When should I consider  having a total joint replacement?  
We recommend waiting to have a total joint replacement until your pain becomes unbearable, normal activity can no longer be completed, and non-surgical treatments have failed. While waiting for a joint replacement, you can minimize your discomfort with several non-surgical options such as medication, cortisone injection, activity modification, weight loss, and the use of a cane or knee brace.
 I have had a total knee replacement. Is it necessary for me to take antibiotics when I  have a cold or the flu?  
Most colds and the flu are from viral infections, and antibiotics are not effective against them. However, some viral infections can turn into bacterial infections, called secondary infection. If your symptoms are relatively mild with low fever, and clear or white secretions, than usually antibiotics are not necessary. On the other hand, if your symptoms are prolonged or getting worse or your secretions are thicker and yellow, green or blood tinged, then an antibiotic probably does make sense. You need to coordinate with your medical doctor on this.