Joint replacement surgery is often the last resort for people who suffer from arthritis and debilitating joint pain. It is costly, and quite an invasive procedure; as such, it is extremely important to weigh the risks and benefits of such a procedure before making a decision.
The benefits of joint replacement surgery are pretty straightforward – pain relief and improved joint function. If a person is experiencing joint pain that cannot be reduced by typical means (drugs, alternative therapy, etc.), replacement surgery offers a long-term solution. On the other hand, one of the risks associated with surgery is the possibility for chronic pain.
With conditions like osteoarthritis, joint material degrades over time and eventually hinders normal function. Range of motion and flexibility can be dramatically reduced to the point where even simple tasks become quite difficult. Joint replacement surgery utilizes synthetic components that can offer patients improved flexibility and general mobility. Despite total replacement, there is no guarantee that all function will be adequately restored.
As for the risks associated with the procedure, most are similar to the risks associated with any surgical procedure. Blood clots and infections are considered primary risks, especially considering the age and immune system efficiency of most typical joint replacement candidates. General weakness and stiffness are also commonly reported following the surgery, particularly when the patients don’t strictly adhere to a rehabilitation schedule. Lastly, as with any synthetic component, the possibility of breakdown or dislocation is ever-present.
It is important to discuss all options with your doctor prior to deciding on joint replacement surgery. Oftentimes people mistake nerve and muscle pain for a joint issue. Rather than jump to the last resort, consider all of your options. Many people find relief from joint pain through a comprehensive approach that includes supplementation, among other means.
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