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Total Knee Replacement

Deciding to have knee or hip replacement

Careful discussion and thought can help you make a decision about whether or not to have knee or hip replacement surgery. Surgery may or may not be the right choice for you. A key step is to talk to your doctor about your quality of life and your goals for possibly having surgery. You may also read about the operation you're considering and talk to others w ith knee or hip problems.

Who benefits from knee or hip replacement surgery?

The most common reason to have knee or hip replacement surgery is severe arthritis pain that limits your activities. Your doctor may recommend replacement surgery if:
• Pain prevents you from sleeping or doing normal activities
• You can't move around yourself, have to use a cane or walker
• Your pain has not improved w ith other treatment
• You understand the surgery and recovery involved

Some people are more w illing to accept the limits knee or hip pain places on them, and w ait until the problem is severe. Others w ill w ant to have joint replacement surgery in order to continue w ith sports and other casual activities

Most knee or hip replacements are done in people w ho are age 60 and older. How ever, many people w ho have this surgery are younger. When a knee or hip replacement is done, the new joint may w ear out over time. This is more likely to occur in people w ith more active lifestyles or in those w ho w ill likely live longer. If a second joint replacement is needed in the future, it may not w ork as well as the first one. Is there any harm in waiting?

For the most part, knee and hip replacement are elective procedures. This means these surgeries are done to provide relief for your pain, not for any other medical reason.
Delaying surgery should not make joint replacement less effective if you choose to have it in the future. How ever, if pain is preventing you from moving around w ell, your muscles around your joint may become w eaker and your bones thinner. This may affect your recovery time once you do have replacement surgery.

You may not be able to have replacement surgery.

Your doctor may recommend against knee or hip replacement surgery if you have any of the follow ing issues:
• You are very obese (w eighing over 300 pounds).
• Your quadriceps, the muscles in the front of your thigh, are very w eak. Weak quadriceps could make it very hard for you to w alk and use your knee.
• You have unhealthy skin around your knee.
• You've had an infection of your knee before.
• You have a history of heart or lung problems, w hich can make major surgery more risky.
• You have any other health conditions that may not allow you to recover from Joint replacement surgery.
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