Hip and knee replacements have become one of the most popular medical procedures in the developed world. Why? The training and expertise of orthopedic surgeons who perform these procedures are exemplary and the surgical tools and implants have only gotten more effective and durable. Because of this, there is a very good probability that everyone knows SOMEONE who has had a joint replacement.
The days when only older generations sought pain relief from these procedures are long gone. Now, people in their mid to late 30’s may be candidates for hip and knee replacements. The reason for this trend towards a younger crowd is due to joint injuries that often occur during teenage years from accidents or overuse in sports. Over time, these previously injured joints can develop arthritis and the excruciating pain that accompanies this condition.
Fortunately, finding a skilled surgeon specializing in joint replacement is much easier today with the benefit of the referral line of Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Center.
How Do You Know When It is Time to Consider a Joint Replacement?
Dr. Donald Hohman is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship trained and specializes in joint replacements of the hip and knee. He is also a member of the referral program of Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Center. In his years of performing joint replacement surgery for patients of all ages, Dr. Hohman has an informed opinion on how to know that it is time to consider this procedure.
“I tell my patients that only they will know when the time is right for a joint replacement operation,” Dr. Hohman said.
“The number one reason for joint replacement is pain relief. The number two reason for joint replacement is pain relief! I always ask them to guess what they believe the number three reason for joint replacement is. It’s pain relief.
“The reason most people opt for a joint replacement is not because they want to get back to heavy-duty downhill slalom skiing. They simply want to live a pain-free, active life. Joint replacements are not designed for super, high-demand high performance.”
“People always ask me if they will be able to get back to running or other activities after their joint replacement procedure. I respond with, ‘sure you probably can, especially if you are younger.’ However, I caution them that, while they probably can, perhaps they shouldn’t. These are ‘mechanical parts’ and if they are ground down early, the patient will be looking at more surgery, a lot sooner than they would have otherwise.”
No One Wants Another Surgery: How to Preserve That New Joint
“I spend a lot of time explaining to patients how they can get the most out of their hip and knee replacements for the long haul so they don’t need a big redo operation with all of the risks that accompany this. It’s not that I will withhold surgery from people when they have decided that they’re at the end of their rope and have tried everything else, however, it is important for them to know that living with a joint replacement has some future ramifications. There are some performance limitations that they should be aware of if they are considering this procedure.”
Reducing high-impact activities does not mean a joint replacement patient should forgo physical activities altogether. In fact, low-impact activities such as regular walking, yoga, and Pilates are great ways to help the patient get in shape or stay in shape after joint replacement surgery.
Physicians who are members of the referral program practice independently and are not employees or agents of Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Center.