A joint replacement is mainly an elective surgical procedure. A doctor may advise it, but at the end of the day, still, it is your choice if you are to undergo an operation. The deciding factor to have a joint replacement is centered on the degree of pain you are experiencing and how it hinders your actions.
It may be time to submit to a knee or hip replacement if you find yourself answering yes to one or more of the following:
- You need help to accomplish your activities of daily living.
- You are in great pain almost every day.
- You cannot put yourself to sleep at night due to pain even with medications.
- Alternative methods such as exercises, medicines, using of canes, and others, no longer ease the pain.
- Non-invasive surgical techniques are not likely to help.
- Pain hampers you from walking or bending.
- Pain still exists even if at rest.
- You cannot bend or straighten your knee, or your hip is so stiff that it is impossible for you to lift your leg.
- X-rays show advanced arthritis or other damage.
If you want to wait a little longer, a study by Canadian researchers showed that it may lower the benefit you get from knee or hip replacement. Those patients who had waited longer had lesser pain relief and were almost five times to need support with daily routine.
Some factors to consider are the condition of your joints, age, and general health. You and your doctor should be able to weigh things if it is the right time or just have to wait for a while.
The usual age for a knee replacement is 70, and for a hip replacement it is 66. If you are below 50 years old, your surgeon may suggest that you wait a few years before having a joint replacement.
However, there are some who are not qualified for a joint replacement due to some conditions. Try to check if you have any of the following:
- Systemic infection in the injured knee or hip
- Poor leg circulation that it will affect the healing process
- Severely damaged knee muscles or ligaments
- Impaired nerves in the legs
- Neuromuscular disease such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or stroke
- Allergic reaction to metal or plastic
- Medical condition that makes any major surgery unsafe
Whatever may your decision, put in mind that any major operation has an accompanying complications that are sometimes inevitable. Some recipients of metal-on-metal hip implants suffered from some adverse effects leading to the recall of some hip devices. Among them is Stryker Rejuvenate hip recall.