Is It Time To Consider Joint Surgery?
Is It Time To Consider Joint Surgery?
1. Is It Time To Consider Joint Surgery?
Has your doctor suggested that you might be a candidate for joint surgery? Maybe someone you know had knee or hip replacement and is doing well. The goal of joint surgery is to relieve pain and improve function. Here are 10 questions you may want to ask yourself as you think about having joint replacement.
2. Can I Live With the Pain I’m Experiencing Now?
The pain is affecting your daily life. You’re having more bad days than good days. It even keeps you up at night. You find yourself taking multiple over-the-counter painkillers just to make it through the day.
3. Have my Pain and Stiffness Gotten Increasingly Worse Over the Past Year?
You feel pain with movement and at rest. It’s getting harder to climb stairs, get into cars, or around the house. On a scale of one to 10, your pain level has steadily moved pass six, and has stayed at the higher levels for months. X-rays show that you have severe joint damage.
4. Have I Given up on Activities I Enjoy Because of my Pain?
You’ve stopped playing tennis or shopping with friends. Social plans get cancelled at the last minute due to pain. You haven’t been to church for many Sundays. Most weekends you are at home.
5. Have I Explored all the Treatment Options Available?
Before you decide to have surgery, make sure you have exhausted other therapies. This may include topical and oral medicines, injections, natural or complementary remedies, exercise, physical or occupational therapy and assistive devices.
6. How Will Surgery Improve my Condition?
Talk with your doctor to find out what level of improvement you may expect from joint surgery. This will depend on the type of surgery, the state of your arthritis, your overall health, and your ability to closely follow post-surgery instructions. You may need to lose weight, stop smoking and make other changes to your lifestyle to achieve the full benefits of surgery.
7. Is my Overall Health Well Enough for Surgery?
Your knees may be ready for surgery, but is the rest of you? Any other health conditions you have will need to well controlled. Your overall health plays an important role in your healing and recovery process.
8. Am I Prepared to Work Through the Recovery Process?
Whether you have a partial or total knee replacement, joint surgery is a major event. Recovery requires a commitment to weeks of post-surgery rehabilitation and exercise to regain muscle strength, range of motion and good mobility. There will be good days and bad days as your body heals. You will need to be committed to following your post-surgery regimen even when it hurts.
9. Does my Insurance Policy Cover the Costs of Joint Surgery and Recovery?
Make sure you understand what your insurance plan will cover, including things you may or may not need like at-home nursing care. Know your out-of-pocket costs and make sure you are able to comfortably afford to cover those expenses.
10. Will I be Able to Take the Necessary Time off?
Recovery from joint surgery can take up to six weeks, or even longer. You should expect to be home-bound for the first two to three weeks after surgery. Check with your employer to ensure you can take the time off or make arrangements to work from home if that’s an option.
11. Do I Have a Support System in Place to Help During my Recovery?
Post-surgery recovery is not something you can do alone. You will need help when you return home after surgery. If you live alone and don’t have someone to help, you may want to seek home-care assistance from an agency. For at least a few weeks, you'll likely need some assistance getting dressed, preparing food, changing your bandages, and moving around.
12. Taking the Next Step
It’s important that you talk to an orthopaedist so you understand what to expect before, during and after joint surgery. You may want to talk with other individuals who have had joint surgery so you have a broad range of perspectives. According to the Centers For Disease Control, more than 1.1 million hip or knee replacements were performed in 2006, and joint surgery can enable you to protect your quality of life.