Orthopedic Joint Replacement: Tips from Someone Who Had the Surgery in Her ’20s

Orthopedic Joint Replacement:

It could happen to you! It may be due to age, physical wear and tear or disease but there could come a time in your life when you may find it necessary to replace one or more joints in your body in order to maintain mobility.

As someone who found this necessity creep up on her at an early age (21 for the hips and 23 yrs for the knees), I can share my experience in this process with you while providing some education as to the different reasons this type of surgery becomes necessary,Check out our site for effective information about XXX now.

I was diagnosed at age five with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, an auto-immune disease that attacks the cartilage and lining of the joints of the body by over-producing synovial fluid in the body. Synovial fluid is the WD-40 of the body and keeps the joints lubricated for smooth function and use. When too much is produced in the body due to Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis, that same fluid attacks the cartilage and breaks down the lining of the joint causing the two or three connecting bones to rub against each other, destroying the bone and inflaming the surrounding tissues causing pain and swelling. Over time, movement becomes near impossible and the victim becomes sedentary and loses mobility in that joint. If left too long without diagnosis and treatment, the joint can wear away to a point where a joint replacement is not even possible. For a joint replacement to be successful, a certain amount of healthy bone is needed to attach and anchor the prosthesis.

Most Orthopedic Surgeons will use less invasive treatment as a first option if the wear and tear on the joint is still at a minimum. Weight control, anti-inflammatory painkillers, exercise and steroid injections can control the pain/symptoms limiting the patient’s mobility and allow them to continue normal, daily activities. When these treatments no longer control the problem and x-rays reveal increasing destruction to the joint(s) in question, then joint replacement becomes the next logical step.

Most joint prostheses are generally guaranteed for 10-15 years with normal, daily activity. For those patients who are more active, your activity may decrease the number of years between replacement and revision. Joint revision surgery becomes necessary after many years of activity causing the prosthesis to loosen from the bone. Pain begins to set in again and the joint becomes unstable, possibly resulting in dislocation. Joint revision is less invasive than the initial replacement and has a shorter recuperation period.

I had both hips replaced simultaneously at age twenty-one and was in the hospital for two weeks. I was then discharged home on crutches, my weight bearing allowed only at 25% for the next three weeks. Physical therapy involved merely getting up and walking about 100 feet daily and performing a series of muscles strengthening exercises which could be done in either my bed or sitting up in a chair. It took exactly eight weeks to reach the point of walking without crutches and using only a cane for another two weeks. Basically, recovery takes approximately the same length of time as healing from a broken bone. However, it takes the human body one year to completely bounce back from any surgery.

The good news is that the pain you may have been experiencing before surgery is absolutely absent after surgery. Each day you feel better and are amazed at how agile and mobile you become without the crippling pain that grounded you beforehand.

Some tips to a speedy recovery are to eat fresh fruits and vegetables during recuperation. Refrain from red meat and acidic fruits if you are arthritic and take vitamins (A, C, and E) and make sure to eat iron rich foods to build blood (you experience a great deal of blood loss during an initial replacement because of the cutting away of the damaged bone. Yes, bone bleeds!). Also, once stitches/staples are removed from the incision, applying pure vitamin E oil to that site will help reduce scarring and speed healing.

Although being confronted with the need for a joint replacement is frightening, I can tell you it was a blessing in my life and has kept me ambulatory (walking on my own) and out of a wheelchair. Joint replacement surgery has given me a pain free existence and allowed me my independence. I dance, drive, walk and live on my own because I am physically able to do so. I enjoy life and all it has to offer.

If you become a candidate for replacement, make sure your Orthopedic Surgeon is Board Certified, ask how many similar surgeries he/she has performed, Check the AMA (American Medical Association) for his/her record and ask for counseling from both a nurse and a previous patient who has already gone through joint replacement. Get all the facts on risks versus benefits of surgery. Once you have researched all options and satisfied yourself that you have chosen the best possible surgeon for you, try not to allow fear to prevent you from reaching a pain free and fabulously mobile new lease on life.