Posted on: 21 October 2020Share
Hearing the words "it's time for a joint replacement" can make your heart drop. Even if you knew that a joint replacement was on the horizon and that it's your best bet for lasting pain relief and increased mobility, you might still feel nervous. The idea of having an entire joint removed from your body and replaced by artificial materials is a bit intimidating. A lot of the fear you're experiencing, though, probably comes from uncertainty and a lack of knowledge. After reviewing the questions and answers below, you should be less apprehensive.
What is the artificial joint made from?
You may worry about your body rejecting the joint or reacting negatively to it, but this is not something you really need to be concerned about. Replacement joints are made from titanium and silicone. These materials are chosen because they are non-bioreactive. In other words, your body won't react to them. You don't need to be worried about rejection; that's something that happens with organ transplants, but not with joint replacements.
Will you be awake during the procedure?
It is becoming more common for patients to be awake during orthopedic surgeries, in general. Regional anesthetics that numb part of your body, in combination with sedatives, can be used when patients need tendons or ligaments repaired, and even for some bunion removal procedures. But rest assured; you'll be put under for a joint replacement. It is a much more extensive procedure that can take upwards of 8 hours, in some cases, and it cannot be performed through tiny, arthroscopic incisions like these other procedures. You'll be put to sleep before your surgeon starts working, and you won't wake up until they are done.
How long will you stay in the hospital afterward?
This depends, in part, on which joint you have replaced. But most patients are surprised how quickly they are sent home. You may be kept in a hospital for four or five days after a hip replacement, but after an ankle or knee replacement, it may be possible to go home the next day. You will need to have someone with you to care for you at home, though, since you won't be mobile for at least a few weeks.
Hopefully, these answers have cleared up some of your worries and concerns about joint replacements. Talk to a local doctor to learn more about joint replacement; they should be able to answer questions related to the specific joint you need to be replaced.