A Guide to Joint Replacement

Unbearable joint pain can have an extremely harmful effect on an individual’s quality of life to an extent that one can even dread a simple walk. Luckily, there is a solution, called the joint replacement surgery, which helps the patient in reducing pain and helping him in getting back to work.

Joint Replacement Surgery in India
Joint Replacement

Joint replacement treatment is an important surgery that is done for replacing a joint in the body with an artificial joint that is made of metal or plastic. Knees, hips, elbows, shoulders, ankles, fingers are some of the generally replaced joints. This surgery is mainly suggested to those who have tried all the non-surgical treatments but have not got any respite from their joint pain.

Joint Replacement Surgery Procedure

This surgery is about removing the worn-out cartilage from both sides of the joint in the body, wherein the joint is later resurfaced from replacement implant. This replaced joint not only looks but also functions in the same manner as the original one. After the joint is inserted, the surgeon may or may not cement it, as per the patient’s age. Generally, in younger patients cement is not used. Use of cement to keep the joint in right place is the perfect choice for the people of old age.

Types of Joint Replacement Surgeries

  • Hip Replacement
  • Knee Replacement
  • Shoulder Replacement
  • Other Replacements-Hand, wrist and arm; Foot and Ankle; Back and Spine

Need of joint replacement surgery

Before thinking about undergoing this surgery, it is extremely important that you take into consideration a number of factors. Some of them are for your doctor to understand including the amount of damage that has been done to the particular joint in the body. Proper x-rays are done. In some of the cases, exercise and medication can largely help but in other cases, surgery is the only solution.

Who Gets Joint Replacement

It was always thought that elderly people were the ones who had to undergo joint replacement surgery in India. However, this might not be completely true. Today, along with age-old people, this surgery is being opted for by a large number of people in their late 40’s as well. The main cause behind this might be the change in the lifestyle of people. In reality, in today’s time, a number of patients with serious joint problems are recommended this surgery in initial stages. Taking care of your problems at an initial stage is better so that they do not have an adverse effect late on one’s health, in general.

Candidate for joint replacement

Apart from one’s overall quality of life, if the patient is in extreme constant pain, joint replacement surgery is best suited for him. If one is suffering from serious heart ailments or diabetes etc, the doctor may have to give a serious though to the patient’s condition in the case of total joint replacement. At other times, weight and age can also be issues to be considered.

For the ones who are not suited for this surgery, for them there are other options as well such as medical, physical therapy, walking using a cane, supplements and braces. And for others, there is alignment and surgery for a particular joint.

Diagnosis

Generally, the need for the surgery in all kinds of patients with arthritis or other joint problems is possible to diagnose through a few simple x-rays. Another important thing a few blood tests and a careful examination by the doctor, so that the cause of the pain can be clearly sought. The surgery is only done to make an improvement in your lifestyle. Replacement of a joint does not only relieves you of your pain but also helps you in improved body movements.

During Surgery

First of all, anesthesia is given to the patient so that he doesn’t feel the pain. After this, the problematic joint is replaced with a new one. The duration of the surgery depends on the amount of damage that has been done to the joint along with the method of the surgery. A knee placement or hip replacement surgery generally takes around 2 hours or even less. Once the surgery is done, the patient is transferred to the recovery room till the time he becomes awake.

Post Surgery

After surgery, the patient is required to stay at the hospital for some days while in case, the person is an elderly, he might have to stay for around some weeks. All this is decided by the doctor. There is still little pain after a few weeks of knee or hip replacement but can be handled by medicines. One can walk with the help of crutches and a walker. Physiotherapy is another important activity that needs to be done that helps in strengthening of muscles and in regaining motion. In the case of shoulder surgery, physical therapy can be stared after a day or two of the surgery.

Life after Joint Replacement Surgery

After a few months of recovering from the surgery, the patients can get back to some good amount of activity. Actually, a speedy recovery would depend on the level of activity you are indulging-in after surgery. Other important factors include patient’s age, degree of problem, kind of surgery and overall physical health. Along with medication, physiotherapy plays an important role.

In the cases when repairing time is longer, the patient’s general health or seriousness of the problem can be the reasons. But generally, people with joint replacements can also partake in light activities walking, golf, swimming, tennis and water exercise. The surgeons recommend not to indulge in high-level activities during the starting days.

Some Interesting and Important Facts

  • In some cases of knee replacements, patients may start walking on just the next day of surgery.
  • The more you move after surgery, the better. Undergoing physical therapy is must
  • Pain can be managed not only through medication but also through ultrasound-guided anesthesia injection
  • Weight loss can save your joints from getting damaged
  • Pick only a very well-known experienced surgeon
  • Full recovery might take a span of a year
  • Artificial joints may work up to around 15-20 years

Cost of Joint Replacement Surgery in India

The cost of joint replacement surgery in India is quite less in comparison to western countries like UK and USA. Through medical tourism, many patients from all around the globe visit India for this surgery. Some of the major benefits include lower treatment costs, excellent medical care services at best of hospitals with state-of-art equipments and services of experience and learned medical experts and well-trained assisting staff.

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