Orthopedic & Joint Replacement

Total Joint Replacement

 

Piedmont Healthcare’s Joint Replacement Programs, which are conveniently located across all of our hospitals, offer a patient focused experience from a team of care professionals that develop a personalized care plan to put you on a path to a pain free life. Our team has the experience to care for any joint replacement needs - last year, Piedmont Healthcare performed more Total Joint Replacement procedures than any other system in the market.

The Joint Replacement Program is focused on providing each patient with as much information as possible, from diagnosis through recovery, for long term success. The Joint Program offers a variety of resources like Total Joint Replacement Navigators to help you with education and guidance through the entire process. Also, our Joint School offers an opportunity to meet some of the care team and learn firsthand about what to expect before, during and after your procedure and a variety of online tools for you to continuously reference.

When is a Good Time to Have Joint Replacement Surgery?

Many patients wonder when the right time is to consider joint replacement surgery. They will ask, “Is my arthritis bad enough that I should go ahead and have the surgery? Or should I wait longer? How much pain should I be in before I am ready? Is it possible to wait too long?”

To better answer these type of questions, it is helpful to understand what arthritis is. All joints in your body are the junction of two or more bones. Bone itself does not make for a good joint surface because it is rough and sensitive to irritation. To compensate, our bones have cartilage that cover the bone surfaces. This specific type of cartilage is called articular cartilage. The cartilage is soft and smooth and slick, and this cartilage is what makes the joint work well. As long as the cartilage is healthy you can move your hip or knee or shoulder without any problems.

Understanding Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain

Many people think osteoarthritis is something in the joint that doesn’t belong there. The opposite is true. Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage covering the bone surface is no longer healthy. There are many reasons for it wear out including injury, mechanical factors, blood flow issues or genetics. Often we do not even completely understand why this happens in every patient.

Unfortunately arthritis never gets better. In fact, it typically gets worse with time as the joint continues to wear out. Your body lacks the ability to restore the cartilage and over time the cartilage continues to thin. In many people it will eventually wear down to bone. This why some refer to severe osteoarthritis as “bone on bone” arthritis.

Once the joint wears down to bone, the two sides of the joint rub together when you move your hip or knee or shoulder and the joint becomes inflamed. The joint will often swell. The edges of the joint can form bone spurs. All of this inflammation results in stiffness and pain.

When patients typically begin to have pain from osteoarthritis we often try anti-inflammatory medications. Sometimes injections in the joint can reduce this inflammation as well. As the osteoarthritis progresses, the nonsurgical methods of treating this pain will typically become less effective.

Benefits of Joint Replacement Surgery

The goal of joint replacement surgery is to replace your worn out joint surfaces with an artificial one. By restoring the joint, the inflammation can then improve and in most cases resolve completely.

There are two ways to answer the question of when is the best time to consider joint replacement surgery. The first is from the surgeon’s perspective. We often offer the surgery to those patients who have pain related to a joint that no longer has adequate cartilage on the joint surface and who continue to have pain despite medications and injections.

A different way to answer the question is from the patient’s perspective. A good time to consider joint replacement surgery is when your hip or your knee make you feel older than you really are.

Joint Replacement Can Help Restore Your Quality of Life

As the joint wears out patients often find themselves slowly letting go of the things they want to do. Activities such as exercising, playing golf, traveling, spending time with family shopping, or simply walking the dog become harder and harder. For some the pain becomes so bad, just getting out of bed becomes a difficult daily chore.

The goal of the surgery is to restore the joint. But the goal of restoring the joint is to enable you to continue on with your life without having to think about how much your knee or hip might hurt the next day.

If you find yourself saying no to the things you once enjoyed, if you find yourself avoiding certain activities because you know how much it will make your joint hurt, if you see other people moving the way you used to and wish you still did, then it might be time to consider joint replacement surgery.

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