Knees are the most commonly replaced joint, with about 270,000 knees being replaced each year in the United States. Hip replacements follow closely. The most common reason for a joint replacement is osteoarthritis - essentially "wear-and-tear" on the joint. The cartilage in the joint breaks down over time, especially in patients who are very active or overweight, and the joint does not move as smoothly as it should, which results in pain whenever the joint is used.
Joint replacement concerns
Joint replacement is a serious procedure and the decision to undergo surgery should not be taken lightly. However, if you are suffering every day from joint pain, and your mobility and quality of life cannot be improved with outpatient therapies, joint replacement surgery should be seriously considered.
Joint replacement can be a very beneficial surgery in terms of restoring quality of life, yet patients are often very hesitant to choose surgery. Two of the biggest concerns:
Pain following surgery – Although there may be pain associated with any surgery, we strive to minimize that pain. Your primary care doctor, surgeon, and anesthesiologist will discuss the pain management plan with you before your surgery and determine the best way to minimize pain during and after surgery.
Adjusting to your new joint – The artificial joints that are being used today are more durable than ever and generally allow for a very natural range of motion after recovery from the surgery. Our skilled team of orthopedic specialists replaces more than 500 joints each year. It is not uncommon for patients to be back to an active lifestyle including golf, bicycling, dancing, tennis, and more just a few short months after joint replacement surgery at Community Hospital.
Read a hip replacement success story!
Preparing for your surgery
The best outcomes are achieved when the surgeon, nurses, therapists, and the patient join forces to meet the patient's goals. With this in mind, Community Hospital offers a free and comprehensive class that covers everything a patient needs to know before undergoing joint replacement. Patients and their loved ones are highly encouraged to take the class at least a week prior to the scheduled surgery.
During the class, a team of nurses, therapists, and discharge planners explain in detail what a patient can expect before, during, and after joint replacement surgery, and answer questions the patient may have about the short hospital stay. They also provide helpful tips to make your recovery as smooth as possible. Participants invariably report how much they benefited from the class.
We strongly recommend that you begin physical therapy before your surgery to develop muscle strength and reduce tightness or contractures. Patients who begin physical therapy before surgery generally experience better outcomes and faster recovery. Physical therapy will continue after surgery. Your physical therapist will work with you one-on-one, in addition to teaching you exercises that you can do at home.
Community Hospital has teams of operating room nurses and technicians dedicated to orthopedic surgeries and state-of-the art surgical suites equipped with the most modern tools. Every step of your procedure will be planned well in advance, and your surgeon will discuss all details of the procedure and answer any questions before you check in for surgery.
Learn more about what to expect when you check in for surgery at Community Hospital.
Recovery in the hospital
The day after your surgery, you will begin to use your new joint. A physical therapist will see you twice daily, will help you out of bed for a short walk, assisted by a walker or crutches and will bring you to the rehab gym for exercises. A respiratory therapist will also work with you on breathing exercises.
On the second and third day, more exercises will be introduced, and you will begin working with an occupational therapist who will help you learn how to dress, get yourself out of bed, and safely use the restroom.
You will stay in the hospital 2 to 4 days following your surgery. Rehab staff will continue to work with you throughout your stay.
When you go home, you will gradually increase your activity over the next three months, and you will continue physical therapy to rebuild strength in your new joint and surrounding muscles. Additionally, an occupational therapist will work with you to make accommodations for any activities to best use your new joint.
After three months, most patients have made a full recovery from hip, knee, or shoulder replacement.