Do you have knee pain? If so, you’re not alone. Nearly 20% of adults complained to their doctors of knee pain last year. And when that knee pain becomes consistent and severe enough, doctors often begin talking about knee replacement surgery.
While relief from pain may sound fantastic, many seniors are reluctant to go through such a big procedure. So, here are five things you should know about knee replacements in order to make an informed decision.
1. They work.
Of the 4.5 million Americans who have had knee surgery, 90% report a significant relief from pain afterwards. Knee replacement recipients even report less pain immediately after the surgery and during the recovery period. Good news, right?
2. They don’t last forever.
Your doctor may delay your surgery and you’re left wondering why. It’s because a knee replacement may have to be repeated if done too early. The stress on the joint caused by walking wears on a knee over the years, so you can only imagine the toll it takes on a synthetic one. While 80% of knee replacements last 20 years, you may need a second surgery in the future.
3. Recovery can be rough.
While the surgery only takes an hour or so, recovery from the procedure lasts much longer. Weeks of rest and physical therapy are needed to make sure your body heals around the new joint. Plan ahead and hire some help, such as from Freedom Home Care, to help you through this frustrating period.
4. It’s safe.
Complications can happen from any surgery, but a knee replacement is routine and safe. Of 1.5 million patients interviewed in 2011, 93% had no problems whatsoever. For the remaining patients, the largest complaint was mechanical problems with the new joint.
5. It may not be necessary…yet.
New research shows that doctors may be a little too eager to give seniors new knee joints. The scientists who did the study warn potential knee recipients that their pain should be severe and consistent enough to make activities of daily living difficult. Otherwise, seniors can wait to do the surgery and avoid the risk of a second knee replacement in the future.
While any kind of surgery can be daunting, knee replacements are relatively commonplace and safe. And if you think you can get significant pain relief from it, it’s definitely time to have a conversation with your doctor.
Freedom Home Care can provide help to seniors who are recovering from surgery, injury, or illness. Call today to prepare for an upcoming recovery time.