Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Why have joint replacement?
Both knee and hip joint replacements are recognized as miracles of modern surgery. Most orthopedic specialists consider it the best way to treat the pain and restore the loss of mobility from severe arthritis. It has allowed hundreds of thousands of people with arthritis to get back on their feet and resume an active lifestyle.
Q. How long will they last?
A common reply to this question is that total joint replacement lasts 15-20 years. A more accurate way to think about longevity is via the annual failure rates. Most current data suggests that both hip and knee replacements have an annual failure rate between 0.5-1.0%. This means that if you have your total joint replaced today, you have a 90-95% chance that your joint will last 10 years, and a 80-85% that it will last 20 years . With improvements in technology, these numbers may improve.
Q. What happens when joint replacements wear out?
Although most replacements will last greater then 20 years under normal wear, they can wear out sooner if subjected to vigorous activity. When a joint wears out, loosens or develops a problem, it can be resurfaced or replaced in a joint revision.
Q. I have occasional clicking or clunking in my knee after surgery. Is this normal?
It is common to have some sensations or actually audible clicks or clunks after knee replacement surgery. Generally, this is not painful and not associated with any discomfort or functional problems.
Q. Is it normal to have numbness along the outer or lateral aspect of the incision?
It is common to develop some numbness or change in sensation over the lateral or outer aspect of the incision after surgery. The normal skin nerves run from the inner aspect of the knee, rotating to the outer aspect of the knee. Generally, after 4 to 6 months, much of the skin sensation will return. However, in some patients, there is always a reduced degree of sensation over the outer aspect of the knee. Usually, the patients have little problem with this.
Q. Will my body reject the artificial parts?
The materials used for total joint replacement include titanium, cobalt chrome, and polyethylene. To date, there is little evidence suggesting any allergic reaction to these materials, particularly in their bulk form.
Q. Can I obtain a handicap parking permit for the period of limited mobility after the surgery?
Yes. We can provide you with a form to take to the Secretary of State to obtain a temporary permit.
Q. Do I need to be careful of dislocating the hip for the remainder of my life?
The greatest risk for dislocation or instability after total hip replacement is within the first 6 weeks. It is always easier to dislocate a replaced hip than your natural hip. Normally, after 6 weeks of restrictions and positioning, your surgeon will allow you to return to more normal activities. You will be educated of the safe positions and movements of your hip.
Q. I have some warmth and swelling around my hip or knee, is this normal?
It is normal to have some swelling and warmth around the operated hip or knee joint in the first few months. A part of the healing process involves the body creating an increased blood flow to the operated joint bring in many nutrients and factors needed for healing. This may cause the joint to feel warm to touch and possibly look swollen. If you notice any redness or experience leg swelling that does not improve with elevating the leg then you should call our office.
Q. Will I ever be able to kneel on my replaced knee?
The short answer is yes if you can tolerate it. Although its okay to kneel on your replaced knee we do not recommend prolonged periods of time on the knee. Some patients may have sensitivity along the front of the knee which makes it uncomfortable to kneel.
This is just a short list of common questions. Please feel free to contact our office with any concerns or questions.
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