Joint replacement is a surgical option when the joint is damaged to such an extent that it hampers free movement and causes extreme pain. The decision to undergo such a surgery is difficult. There is a lot of apprehension around how it is done, what materials are used for the artificial joints, do many people undergo such a surgery and what are the after effects?
Well, to answer all these questions in short, joints that are irreversibly damaged require replacement. Replacing a damaged joint can help you move around and feel better. Damage to the joint could be due to arthritis, accidents, sports injuries and other such diseases that cause swelling and stiffness of the joints. The replaced joint is generally made up of plastic or metal or a combination of both. The new joints last nearly 10 – 15 years.
Now, looking at the risks, joint replacement surgery like any other surgery has its own risks. Here are the after effects that you need to be aware of. Remember that most of the after effects are treatable so, make sure that you contact your doctor immediately if you see the following symptoms.
The foremost risk of a joint replacement surgery is infection. This infection can occur around the wound or in the wound. The infection may be seen during your hospital stay, or a few days after you leave. Well, sometimes infections occur years after the surgery. Minor infections can be treated with drugs but if the infection is deep, a re-surgery may be required.
Blood clots may be seen and lumps of blood can form in and around the wound. After a period of time, these clots cause pain and swelling in those areas. Doctors generally suggest drugs that can make your blood thin. Special stockings, exercises or boots can also help your blood move faster.
The new joint may loosen. This causes pain and a lot of discomfort. Contact your doctor immediately as this requires a re-operation to relocate the joint.
Sometimes the ball of the prosthesis may come out of its socket. Many a times this can be treated without surgery. Operation may be required depending on the severity.
Some wear is bound to happen in a joint over time. If it is too serious, contact your doctor. This wear causes loosening of the joint and cause additional discomfort.
Nerve and Blood Vessel Injury
It is possible that the nerves near the replaced joint are damaged during surgery. This is not very common, but if there is a minor damage, it heals itself over time.
It’s always a good idea to inform your doctor about any of the above symptoms as early as possible.