The primary goals of undergoing joint replacement surgery include relief from joint pain, improvements on general movement, and helping the affected joint work more efficiently. If you feel significant hip or knee joint pain, and it is restricting your mobility and reducing your quality of life, you may be an ideal candidate for joint replacement surgery. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, replacing a damaged joint could ease your pain and make you feel and move better. The most commonly replaced joints are the knee and hip joints, but joints in the fingers, shoulders, elbows, and ankles could be replaced as well. Like other invasive surgical procedures; however, joint replacement surgery comes with specific benefits and risks you need to consider.
The Benefits of Joint Replacement Surgery
Recent studies have found that joint replacement surgery offers significant long-term benefits. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, they are very much worth considering when trying to decide whether or not you should have it done since 85% of knee replacements can last up to 20 years and 95% of hip replacements can last between 15 and 20 years. Researchers likewise found that individuals suffering from osteoarthritis who have their knee or hip replaced are less likely to experience a stroke or heart attack that individuals who passed on the surgical procedure.
It can likewise reduce your long-term risk for developing diabetes, depression, heart failure, and even death. These findings are not really surprising when taking into account how much your life will change once you are free to move around without feeling any pain—essentially, your quality of life will immensely improve.
The Risks of Joint Replacement Surgery
As with all the other surgical procedures out there, there are risks to joint replacement surgery. One of the most serious risks is an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack, specifically during the first two weeks following the surgery. This risk, however, is due to the heightened tendency of the body to develop blood clots following any major surgical procedure. Undergoing a comprehensive cardiology assessment prior, taking necessary medications to prevent the formation of blood clots, and quitting smoking, if you are a smoker, can also reduce this risk. Other risks include infections, bleeding, loosening of the artificial joint over time, as well as a blood vessel or nerve injury.
Risks vs. Benefits of Joint Replacement Surgery
You alone can decide when your pain and associated difficulties are negatively affecting your daily life enough to opt for joint replacement surgery. However, an experienced joint replacement physician in Des Moines, Iowa, could help you better understand all the potential risks. The being said, quitting smoking, shedding excess weight if you’re overweight, performing exercises that strengthen your muscles, eating a heart-healthy diet, and restricting your alcohol intake before the surgery could help reduce the risks associated with the procedure. Make sure to work with an experienced physician so you can effectively manage your risk factors before, during, and following joint replacement surgery.