Are You Too Old for a Total Joint Replacement?
Total joint replacement can be daunting. Especially as you get older, the procedure and recovery process feels more difficult, exhausting, and painful – and to some degree that is actually the case. These fears can prevent you from looking into important surgery that can save you from persistent pain that may have been impinging on your life for months – maybe years. That begs the question: “Am I too old for surgery?” People today are enjoying longer lives, but that doesn’t mean that their health and wellness obstacles are removed.
Total Joint Replacement
If you are reading this, odds are you know someone who has had a total joint replacement procedure. It’s natural for the wear and tear of aging to take its toll on your joints, which can lead to needing a joint replacement. The most common total joint replacements we perform are hip replacements and knee replacements, but virtually any joint can be replaced.
During a total joint replacement, your orthopedic surgeon removes the damaged joint and replaces it with a plastic, metal, and/or ceramic prosthesis. The goal of a total joint replacement is to replace the worn down or arthritic joint with a device that mimics a healthy joint. This alleviates pain and returns the patient to a more active lifestyle.
Is Age Just a Number?
If you have followed your orthopedic surgeon’s recommendation of lifestyle change, physical therapy, medication, braces and/or cortisone shots – and nothing is working, it may be time to look into a total joint replacement.
Despite preconceptions, surgical risk has more to do with your overall health than your age. Since people are living longer, people in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s are undergoing total joint replacement to continue their active lifestyles. Sure, you may not bounce back after surgery as quickly as the 30-year-old you, but that is only a blip on the screen of the rest of your life.
Can you remember what life was like before the nagging joint pain? Amazingly, most joint replacements eliminate the joint-specific pain immediately. However, this pain-free life does not come without a bit of recovery – a joint replacement procedure is major surgery, and afterwards you will have some surgical pain, but that is, of course, temporary. You will have a team of specialists to get you through it with pain management techniques including medications, physical therapy and regular follow up visits if necessary…so you can get back to your normal activities.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the choice of whether or not to get a total joint replacement is yours. Consult your orthopedic specialist to make sure you have all of the information necessary to make an educated decision. Surgery may not always be the answer, but it also may change your life for the better. Regardless, you should not hold off on a joint replacement just because you think you are too old. In this case, age is truly just a number.
If you would like to talk to a doctor about what your options are for joint pain, schedule an appointment with us today. At Premier, we promise to provide you with the resources and care necessary to ensure that you are living the happiest and healthiest life possible.