As joints deteriorate, they can cause patients to feel pain and make it nearly unbearable to proceed with everyday tasks. It can be your shoulder that is affecting your sleeping or driving, or your knee or hip joints that are slowing you down. Yet, “replacement” can seem like a scary word to most people considering options to relieve joint pain. Perhaps your doctor is recommending arthroplasty, which doesn’t sound as scary. Until your doctor explains that arthroplasty and joint replacement surgery are different terms describing the same procedure in which your doctor will remove degenerated parts of your joint – or maybe the whole joint – and replace it with artificial parts.
Exhausting Other Options
The most important thing to consider is that a doctor likely will not recommend arthroplasty or joint replacement surgery right off the bat. Usually, joint replacement surgery is a last resort after all non-invasive and pain management techniques have been exhausted. Your doctor might first recommend physical therapy to help you strengthen the muscles and ligaments that surround your knee, shoulder or hip. But if you are thinking physical therapy is only a Band-Aid for a major issue, think again. Physical therapy will not only help strengthen your muscles, but it will also increase flexibility as well as the range of motion.
Of course, if your doctor feels your condition is too far gone for physical therapy, there is also the consideration of where your pain can be managed by medication. This can range from over the counter anti-inflammatory medications, pain injections or prescribed narcotics.
Arthroplasty or joint replacement surgery is performed in a minimally invasive manner with much smaller incisions which means you are at less risk for complications. Again, this really will depend on the damage to the joint, the amount of artificial material needed to replace damage and the location of the injury.
Should your joint be too far gone and deteriorated to partially fix and replace, your doctor might opt for a full-replacement. A full-replacement, due to the major overhaul of your joint, is much more invasive than arthroplasty or joint replacement surgery. This means that recovery may take longer and the risk is slightly higher than arthroscopic surgery.
If you have questions about joint replacement surgery or would like a second opinion, contact Dr. Bill Hefley today. We are the experts in orthopedic surgery and can help provide alternatives – both surgical and nonsurgical. Call us at (800) 336-2412 or simply use our online request form to schedule your appointment today.