Joint replacement is a surgical treatment for joints that are significantly damaged, often due to bone diseases like arthritis. Patients who are recommended this treatment have advanced or end-stage arthritis that no longer responds to conservative treatments. The need for a joint replacement is assessed by evaluating the patient’s symptoms and overall condition.
Patients experiencing joint pain and stiffness alone do not require joint replacement. There must be severe symptoms and significant damage to the joint to justify a joint replacement.
Why Damaged Joints Need Replacing
Arthritis is a progressive disease, and most patients reach a point where the joint will need to be replaced. If the joint has severe damage and begins to show deformity, the patient is likely feeling severe pain and disability. Conservative and less invasive methods of treatment such as physical therapy and cortisone injections will no longer provide relief once the joint has incurred severe damage. The doctor replaces the damaged joint with an artificial joint made of metal and plastic, which relieves pain and restores function to the joint.
Orthopedic doctors make joint replacement the last option and try to preserve natural joints through conservative treatments for as long as possible. The most important considerations for joint replacement surgery include:
Pain that is severe can interfere with your daily activities and sleep. If joint pain keeps you up at night, your body will be unable to recharge itself, which is important for your overall health and functioning. If pain prevents you from partaking in day-to-day activities or your work duties, it means the joint damage is significant. Mild to moderate pain is a sign that you may not need joint replacement just yet.
Walking with a limp and or being unable to walk without an assistive device is also a consideration. If your joint symptoms prevent you from going to the supermarket or walk around your home comfortably, it means the damage is serious.
Being in severe pain and disabled is no laughing matter and can wear you down mentally and emotionally. Mobility issues can cause anxiety and depression. If even normal physical activities causes you pain, you may try to avoid moving and slip into a sedentary lifestyle, which can cause psychological issues, as well.
Poor Quality of Life
Not being able to do the things that are necessary (such as caring for and feeding yourself) or partaking in important activities with friends and family can result in a poor quality of life. If your pain is significant enough to prevent you from enjoying life, it is a consideration for the type of treatment your doctor recommends.
Are You Ready for Joint Replacement?
Most arthritis patients are able to maintain an active lifestyle despite their condition. The recommendation for surgery varies from patient to patient, but ultimately, it is the patient’s decision whether it’s time for joint replacement.
If you know that it’s time for a joint replacement, make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in joint replacement surgery. Advances in joint replacement surgery have made it much safer. However, the skill-level and experience of the surgeon can still affect outcomes.
Joint Replacement Surgeon in St. Peters and O’Fallon, Missouri
The orthopedic surgeons at Advanced Bone & Joint are highly skilled and experienced in minimally-invasive techniques for replacing hip, knee, shoulder, and elbow joints. We first make sure that we have exhausted treatments aimed at joint preservation before recommending joint replacement. If you come in for a consultation, we may be able to recommend a conservative or less invasive treatment that can provide you lasting relief from your symptoms. To make an appointment, call (636) 229-4222 or use our online request form.