The New Yorkers that I perform hip and knee replacements on are usually a combination of excited and anxious when they come in for their procedure. They are excited because they know that the surgery will lead to a life with reduced joint pain and increased mobile activity compared to where they are now. Still, they are often a little anxious about the recovery journey that lies before them. In these instances, I find that it is incredibly helpful to help them feel prepared for the surgery and life after it. By and large, most procedures are incredibly successful, and there is not much to worry about. Still, joint procedures are a major surgery, and going into them with a greater understanding of outcomes as well as expectations can make a big difference. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of your own hip or joint replacement.
Do your research
If you have confidence that the surgical procedure that you are going to have is right for you, you are more likely to feel comfortable about it from the beginning. Take time to better understand your various surgical options. For example, you might not be a good candidate for a partial joint replacement but could greatly benefit from a minimally invasive technique. Asking questions about what’s available and how those options relate to your personal situation can help put you at ease. If you are apprehensive about the assistance you will need in the days that follow your procedure, ask friends, family, or others who have been through a similar process what was helpful for them and what they wish they would have done differently. You can also find similar advice online and in our office.
Recovery can be tough, but it’s important that you continue to work hard despite any setbacks. One of the worst things you can do is be frustrated and not follow through with suggested physical therapy. Optimism can be incredibly helpful in the recovery process, so work hard to be positive and recruit others in your life to offer support. Before your surgery, consider making a list of things that you are excited to do after your joint is completely replaced and healed.
But stay realistic
Recovery can actually be pretty fast in the grand scheme of things, especially if you had a minimally invasive procedure or a minor repair. However, recovery doesn’t just happen overnight, and factors like age and additional problem body parts can affect your recovery speed. We all heal differently, and it’s perfectly normal if you are not recovering at the same speed as someone else you know who has been through a similar procedure. Don’t push yourself too fast, and remember to keep an eye out for any signs of infection. Quickly report any strange or abnormal sensations.
Joint replacements are routine procedures for me, but they can be unsettling if you have not been through one before. You can’t control the entire surgical process, but take comfort in the fact that there are things you can do to get the most out of your procedure. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.