Joint Replacement

Joint replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces damaged or arthritic joints with metal, plastic, or ceramic devices known as prostheses. These are made specifically to replicate the movement and function of the joint that needs to be replaced. Dr. Dear performs partial and total joint replacements of the knee, hip, and shoulder.

When is joint replacement surgery recommended?

There are many cases in which orthopedic doctors will suggest joint replacement. All of them usually involve debilitating joint pain and damage to the cartilage that lines the bones. When medications, injections, lifestyle changes, and physical therapy don’t work, surgery may be the next option.

Preparing for joint replacement surgery

Dr. Dear will give you extensive information to help you prepare for your joint replacement surgery. The hospitals also offer joint replacement classes to guide you through every step of the process. Dr. Dear will also help you get set up for preoperative testing, and, if necessary, preoperative clearance from your primary care physician, or sometimes a specialist, like a cardiologist. It is also important to prepare your home for your surgery and have family or friends available to help you post-operatively.

What happens during the surgery?

Dr. Dear will perform this procedure in a hospital or an outpatient facility. During the surgery, he will take out the damaged areas of the joint and replace them with prostheses. The most common complications that can occur during and after joint replacement are infection, blood clots, nerve damage, and prosthesis loosening. While these risks are uncommon/rare, they are important to consider and discuss with Dr. Dear prior to your surgery.

Recovering from surgery

Your recovery will vary depending upon your needs. You will walk immediately after surgery, and walking helps prevent scar tissue, increase your ultimate motion, and improve your strength and outcome. You will start outpatient physical therapy immediately upon returning home, and this is critical for the success of the surgery.

The first two weeks after your surgery are usually the most difficult. Most patients feel better than they did prior to surgery by the 6 week mark. Full recovery is anywhere from 6 months to 1 year following the operation.