Orthopedic surgeons replace more than a million hips and knees each year in the U.S. Studies show joint replacements can significantly relieve pain and increase mobility in about 90% of people who get them.
"Joint replacement can be a life-changing procedure for the right patients," says Dr. Jan Saunders, orthopedic surgeon, "but it won't help everyone with hip or knee pain."
If you're suffering, how do you know if joint replacement is right for you? How can you weigh the potential benefits -- less pain and a more active life -- with the risks that always come with surgery? Dr. Saunders gave the following advice for when it might be time to see an orthopedic surgeon.
Pain and stiffness
Most people who need a joint replacement have severe pain that makes it difficult to walk, climb stairs, get up from a chair, or carry on with other normal activities. The pain is also chronic, lasting at least six months.
Poor quality of life
It's not only pain itself that matters, but how the pain affects your daily life. Do your joint problems limit what you can do?
X-rays and other imaging may show severe joint damage from osteoarthritis or other conditions. Medication, injections, devices -- like walkers -- and other treatments aren't helping enough.
Your knee is severely swollen or your leg is bowed.
Dr. Saunders explains "The timing of joint replacement surgery is rarely clear-cut. That is why the decision for joint replacement is always a discussion for you and your surgeon together." If you are considering a joint replacement, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Saunders to discuss your options.
Dr. Saunders is a board certified orthopedic surgeon with Orthopedic Associates of SW Ohio. We have multiple offices located throughout the Miami Valley region to provide convenient, high quality, orthopedic care to the community.