Get Your Total Joint Replacement Done Right, Avoid Revision

April 12, 2013

Topic: total joint replacements

Get Your Total Joint Replacement Done Right, Avoid Revision

Every year, an increasing number of people undergo total joint replacement to relieve pain in the hip or knee caused by damage from arthritis, injury or a chronic condition. Although considered a routine procedure, it is important that the operation is done correctly the first time and that patients avoid having it corrected later on.

Orthopaedic surgeons tend to recommend TJR when the discomfort in a joint is so severe that the affected individual avoids using it. In turn, this causes the surrounding muscles to weaken, making the joint stiff and difficult to move. This can prevent the patient from being able to carry out everyday activities, such as climbing stairs, tying his or her shoes, vacuuming or walking long distances. Such limitations can place a burden on the individual, reducing his or her quality of life.

Some potential patients also delay joint replacement surgery due to a common misconception causing the fear factor. They believe  that prosthetic joints last only 10 years, but new materials have boosted that lifetime to a possible 20 or more years.

A very common procedure

In the U.S., orthopaedic surgeons perform more than 1 million TJR surgeries every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among them, around 676,000 knee replacements and 327,000 hip replacements are done annually. Both operations are two of the most common inpatient procedures.

The number of TJR surgeries done every year is not limited to first-time operations. Some procedures are actually revisions, in which the first attempt failed.

TJR revisions tend to be performed if the artificial joint becomes loose enough within the bone that the patient experiences pain or breaks. For hip replacements, there is also a possibility that the prosthesis can be dislodged from the socket, resulting in a dislocation.

Avoiding revision surgery

Ultimately, people want to avoid a revision surgery at all costs, since there is a greater chance of complications the second time around. Revisions result in additional bone loss as well, which can lead to orthopaedic fractures, especially if a person’s bones are brittle to begin with.

The key to avoiding a second surgery is to pick a qualified surgeon to perform the initial TJR operation correctly. This means that patients should take their time in researching prospective candidates before choosing one. Ideally, individuals should select surgeons who specialize in knee and hip replacements, as these professionals are more likely to have a great deal of experience and better outcomes. If a doctor does several hundred hips and knees a year, verses one who does 40, he or she will most likely be much better.

Dr. Daxton Steele and I at the Andrews¬† Institute Total Joint Center, are qualified and trained to do a broad range of orthopaedic surgery, but we choose to specialize specifically in hip and knee replacements, and that is why we are so successful,” said Brett R. Smith, M.D., M.S., director of adult reconstruction.

When attending a consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon, people should ask questions about his or her qualifications. In particular, it is always a good idea to find out the surgeon’s overall success rate, including infection rates, readmissions and complications.

The Andrews Institute Total Joint Center has a success rate of greater than 99 percent and has been improving the quality of life for patients for years, allowing them to live longer, active lives.

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