Even though your doctor may recommend that you could benefit from joint replacement surgery, it is always an elective procedure. It is important for you to weigh the risks and benefits in order to reach your own decision about whether or not to have this major surgery. While age is a factor in this decision, it is typically based on a person′s disability. You must determine the amount of pain you are in and the extent of your physical limitations. You may need to consider hip or knee replacement if:
– You cannot perform normal, everyday tasks without assistance.
– You experience significant pain every day.
– Pain keeps you up at night even with the use of pain medications.
– Medications and physical therapy do not relieve your pain.
– It is unlikely that complicated surgical procedures will help you.
– Pain stops you from bending over or walking.
– Pain does not subside when you rest.
– You are unable to straighten or bend your knee, or you are unable to lift your leg because you hip is too stiff.
– Medications are causing severe side effects.
– X-rays indicate advanced arthritis or additional damage.
Certain people are not considered to be good candidates. A surgeon may not offer joint replacement as an option if you have:
– infection in the affected hip or knee.
– poor leg circulation which may interfere with the healing process.
– damaged knee ligaments or muscles.
– damaged nerves in your legs.
– Parkinson′s disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.
– allergy to plastic or metal.
– medical illness which may cause major surgery to be too risky.
The average age is 70 for total knee replacement and 66 for total hip replacement. Your surgeon may suggest waiting a few years if you are under 50.
As you consider whether or not to have surgery, be aware that joint replacement is major surgery which has a risk of complications such as blood clot, infection, and heart attack.