Advances in Knee Replacements

This new design allows surgeons to preserve the important central ligaments of the knee called the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments. This design should allow a knee replacement to move, respond, and feel more like a normal knee.

Learn more about Advances in Knee Replacements »

The Anterior Hip

Patients are being told by both surgeons and orthopedic implant companies that Anterior Hip Replacement approach offers something unique and different compared to other approaches. This is a flatly untrue, unscientifically supported myth...

Learn more about Anterior Hip »

Outpatient Joint Replacement

With Outpatient Joint Replacement Surgery, patients are able to return home the same day as the procedure. Patients also begin physical therapy within hours of surgery.

Learn more about Outpatient Joint Replacement »

Post-Operative Joint Replacement FAQ

  1. What is “joint replacement”, and how will the surgery impact my life?
  2. How do minimally invasive surgery and traditional joint replacement vary, post-operatively?
  3. How long does the post-operative period last?
  4. What is the life expectancy of a joint replacement?
  5. What are the recommended rehabilitative steps for patients recovering from joint replacement surgery?

1. What is “joint replacement”, and how will the surgery impact my life?

Joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which a patient's arthritic joint is cut, removed, and replaced with a prosthetic implant. Joint replacement implants are typically made of metal and hard plastic components, and sometimes ceramic. Following the post-operative recovery period, patients typically experience a relief from arthritic symptoms and a restoration of joint function. In some cases, patients may return to previous levels of activity following joint replacement surgery.

Benefits of joint replacement include:

  • Restored joint function
  • Arthritis pain relief
  • Increased mobility

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2. How do minimally invasive surgery and traditional joint replacement vary, post-operatively?

While joint replacement is one of the most successful surgeries performed today, recent advancements in orthopedic surgery have resulted in improved post-operative results. Minimally invasive joint replacement procedures, such as minimally invasive hip replacement, partial knee replacement, and MAKOplasty® for partial knee replacement tend to result in quicker recoveries.

Benefits of minimally invasive surgery for joint replacement include:

  • Less blood loss during surgery
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Shorter post-operative recovery period
  • Quicker return to previous activities
  • Less noticeable scarring

By making smaller incisions to expose the joint, surgeons are able to replace the joint with less invasion and tampering of the surrounding muscle and tissue. The resulting joint replacement heals more quickly, causes less post-operative pain, and leaves a less visible scar.

Minimally invasive surgery is not recommended for all patients; for a surgical recommendation to treat arthritis, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ballard at his Oregon City office for a consultation.

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3. How long does the post-operative period last?

Each patient's post-operative recovery period will vary, depending on the patient's case of arthritis, their physical therapy progress, and their unique physiology. Typically, traditional joint replacement patients should expect at least six months of recovery and rehabilitation to achieve optimal benefit from the surgery.

Physical therapy and rehabilitation are two factors that strongly influence the speed of a patient's joint replacement recovery. A sensible exercise routine is believed to have an impact on the patient's recovery, as well. By staying as active as the arthritic joint allows and limiting pain medications prior to surgery, patients stand a greater chance at recovering quickly.

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4. What is the life expectancy of a joint replacement?

In more than 90% of patients, joint replacements have an estimated life expectancy of at least 10 years.

Several factors influence the joint replacement's lifespan, including:

  • Carrying excess weight (obesity)
  • Amount of activity practiced on the new joint
  • Component material
  • Patient physiology

Depending on the joint replacement's true lifespan, as well as the patient's age, some patients may become eligible for joint revision surgery. This procedure is suggested for patients who outlive their joint replacement, which can include younger patients (younger than 55) and those whose joint replacement has deteriorated over many years.

Continue reading about joint revision surgery, or schedule an appointment with Dr. Ballard to discuss the treatment.

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5. What are the recommended rehabilitative steps for patients recovering from joint replacement surgery?

Post-operative joint replacement patients are typically placed on a physical therapy and rehabilitation regimen that works to strengthen the joint's supporting muscle and ligament. In addition, physical therapy exercises help stretch the new joint to reintroduce normal range of motion.

Immediately after hip or knee replacement surgery, patients may benefit from the use of a cane or a walker when relearning to walk and climb stairs. Over time, the patient's joint should develop enough strength to forego these aids and move independently. The speed of recovery will depend largely on the patient's physical therapy and rehabilitation routine.

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