When a joint replacement is needed?

Joint replacement surgery is usually necessary when the knee joint is worn or damaged to the extent that your mobility is reduced and you experience pain even while resting. It occurs commonly in osteoarthritis. Other conditions include post-traumatic condition, avascular necrosis, rheumatoid arthritis and severe gouty arthritis.

What is joint replacement surgery?

Joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty) is an operation that involves replacing a damaged, worn or diseased joint with an artificial joint.

Which joint can be replaced?

The hip and knee joint replacement are the most common joints to be replaced with good long lasting result. Shoulder, elbow, wrist and ankle joint can be replaced but they are less common.

When I can walk after a joint replacement?

Most patients will stay in bed for the 1st day after the surgery. Physiotherapy for walking exercise will be start when the general condition of the patient is good. Most patients can walk with a frame 2 to 3 days after the surgery. Some patients can walk with a stick upon discharge at 5 to 6 days after the surgery.

You need to follow the instruction of the physiotherapist for mobilization and strengthening exercise after go back home. You cannot walk if the replaced joint is stiff and the muscle is weak. It may take 3 months to 6 months for satisfactory recovery. Full recovery can take up to two years as scar tissue heals and your muscles are restored by exercise.

Who needs joint replacement surgery?

A joint replacement is major surgery, so is normally only recommended if other treatments, such as physiotherapy or injection, haven't helped reduce pain or improve mobility.

You may consider joint replacement surgery if:

You have severe pain, deformity and stiffness in your joint and your mobility is reduced.
Your joint pain is so severe that it interferes with your quality of life and sleep.
Everyday tasks, such as walking or stair walking, are difficult or impossible.
You can't work or have a normal social life.
However, you'll also need to be well enough to cope with both a major operation and the rehabilitation afterwards.

Risks of knee replacement surgery

Joint replacement surgery is a common operation and most people don't experience complications. However, as with any operation, there are risks as well as benefits.

- Stiffness of the joint
- Infection of the wound
- Deep infection of the joint replacement, needing further surgery
- Unexpected bleeding
- Ligament, artery or nerve damage in the area around the joint
- Joint dislocation (Hip)
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Persistent pain the in the joint
- Fracture – a break in the bone around the joint replacement during or after the operation