Debunking the myths surrounding joint replacement surgery

By: Debi Fenton, Joint Care Coordinator, MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center, Long Beach Medical Center

People managing chronic joint pain may have been considering options for relieving their pain, including joint replacement surgery. With more than one million total knee joint replacement surgeries performed each year in the United States, the procedure has become one of the most common surgeries.

Insights on joint replacement surgery from word-of-mouth can often be fueled by misconceptions about the joint replacement surgery process and experience. Here are some misconceptions about joint replacement surgery:

  • I’m too old or too young for a joint replacement. Regardless of your age, joint pain can have an impact on your quality of life. At the MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Medical Center, age is not the only determining factor for a joint replacement. Speak with a specialist who will work with you to explore pain solutions that will work best for you.
  • Chronic joint pain sufferers should wait until their pain is “really bad” before considering surgery. Joint pain can affect your every move, including walking, climbing stairs, sitting and even sleeping. If these and other activities of daily living are severely limited due to joint pain, it may be time to consider joint replacement surgery. No one should have to sacrifice their quality of life because of joint pain. Thanks to advancements in technology, implants have become more tailored to each patient’s unique needs and last much longer than previous implants.
  • Orthopedic surgeons will always recommend surgery. Joint replacement surgery is only recommended after an examination and diagnosis of your particular joint problem, and only after conservative measures such as exercise, physical therapy and medications have proven ineffective to relieve your pain. There are some exceptions, but for many people, joint replacement is an elective surgery that you can move forward with when you feel the time is right.
  • I’ll have permanent restrictions following joint replacement surgery. At Long Beach Medical Center, patients are encouraged to begin walking the same day of surgery with guidance from physical therapists and nurses. Short-term restrictions following joint replacement surgery are not permanent. High-impact sports/activities may be discouraged after joint replacement. Staying active following joint replacement is beneficial to patients.

Nervousness surrounding the myths about joint replacement surgery can be alleviated by the latest surgical advancements. Long Beach Medical Center offers Mako™ Technology, a robotic-arm assisted technology that enables surgeons to provide patients with precision in implant placement. Mako assists your surgeon to tailor implant placement to your unique anatomy and joint motion by creating a 3D image of your hip or knee which is used for pre-operative planning and performing your joint replacement surgery. Mako has applications for partial knee, total knee and total hip replacement, all of which are available to surgeons at Long Beach Medical Center.

If you or someone you know is living with chronic joint pain and considering joint replacement surgery, please call us for more information at (562) 933-4014.

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