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Total Joint Replacement Educational Series Part 11: FAQs About Total Joint Replacement Before The Surgery

Posted Oct 10 2008 2:12pm
  • How do I know when I am ready for surgery?

    • When you have endstage or "bone on bone" arthritis, injections are helping the pain less than three months and your pain is affecting your quality of life then you will be a surgical candidate.   Until you reach this point Dr. DiGioia will continue to advise conservative treatment.

  • Why have I been asked to lose weight prior to my surgery?

    • Knee and hip replacements wear out just like your regular knees and hips.   For every pound of extra weight that is six pounds of pressure on both your knees and hips!   If you are 10 pounds overweight, that is 60 pounds on your knees and hips! If you would wear out your new knee or hip, it would require a revision or redo surgery which can have more complications and higher risks. We know it is hard to lose weight because of pain, but the role of the injections is to relieve pain and allow you to be more active.   Dr. DiGioia wants you to be in the best shape possible before your surgery so that you can have the best results afterwards.

  • What is arthritis?

    • Cartilage acts as a cushion for the weight bearing surfaces of the joint.   When arthritis sets in, the cartilage between your joints begins to wear over time, and eventually the bone wears down too.    This causes the inflammation and pain which prevents you from maintaining your active lifestyle.  

  • What is minimally invasive total joint replacement?

    • This surgery is not truly "minimally"invasive, but, more accurately,"less"invasive.   There is a smaller incision and less muscle work involved, but the implants are still the same.

  • What medications do I stop prior to surgery?

    • All medications with ASA base (aspirin), blood thinners, NSAIDs (such as Aleve and ibuprofen), all arthritis medications (except for Celebrex) and vitamin E.   Please ask about any herbal supplements you may be taking.

  • Can I take Tylenol?

    • Yes.

  • Can I take Celebrex?

    • Yes.   Unlike other arthritis medications, you can take Celebrex right up to the day of your surgery. We also use Celebrex as a pain medicine after surgery.

  • How long can I expect my total joint replacement to last?

    • 75% of people are still with their original implants in place and doing well at 15 years. This is not to say that once it is year 15 that you will start having problems. TJR can wear out just like your normal knee, and the longer you have the joint replacement the greater the risk wear.   Also, the modern implants are modular systems so we can often catch wear early enough and replace ONLY the part that is worn. This is why we recommend that you get new x-rays every three years!   

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