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Knee and hip replacement surgery

> What is knee and hip replacement?
> Who should have it?
> What is the success rate?
> Is there and alternative to replacement?
> How long is the hospital stay?
> How long is recovery?
> Are there complications?
> What about pain?
> What is the cost?
> Where will my surgery be performed?
> Can I talk so someone?
> Osteoarthritis of the Knee and Hip

What is knee and hip replacement?

It is a surgical procedure in which raw, arthritic bone ends are covered with metal and plastic.  It replaces cartilage that has worn away over the years.  Replacement can eliminate pain and allow you to move easily and without pain.  For many people who have knee arthritis, it also straightens the leg.

Who should have a knee or hip replacement? top of page

When arthritis knee or hip pain severely limits your ability to walk, work or perform even simple activities, knee or hip replacement should be considered.

What is the success rate? top of page

Both knee and hip replacement are recognized as miracles of modern surgery.  Most orthopedic experts consider replacement to be the best method of handling advanced arthritis in the knee or hip.  Joint replacement have literally put hundreds of thousands of disable Americans back on their feet and allowed them to enjoy an active lifestyle.

Is there an alternative to replacement? top of page

It depends on how advanced your joint problem is.  Physical therapy, special injections or anti-inflammatory drugs may be recommended in the early stages of joint disease, but they will not give you the same long-term relief as a joint replacement.  Arthrosopic or microscopic surgery is not helpful once arthritis is advanced.  Knee or hip replacement is only recommended after careful diagnosis of your problem and get back to an active lifestyle.

How long is the hospital stay? top of page

The average hospital stay for a knee or hip replacement is three to five days.

The average stay for two knees is five to seven days.  If both knees require replacement, it's usually best to have them done at the same time.  That way the total disability will be only slightly longer than the operation for one knee, and the condition will be improved in the least amount of time. In some cases, fixing just one knee or hip can save the other for two or three years, if the arthritis is not too advanced.  Each individual case is different.

How long is recovery? top of page

Recovery varies with each person.  You will use a walker for four weeks after the operation.  Many people can drive a car in six weeks.  Most people gradually increase their activities and can slow dance, play golf, doubles tennis, shuffleboard, or bowl in 12 weeks.  More active sports, such as singles tennis and jogging, are not recommended.

After discharge, you may be able to go home, especially if you have someone there to assist you.   However, some patients arrange for assistance at home or need to stay at a rehab center for a few days after they leave the hospital.  Your discharge needs will be assessed by your therapist, social worker and physician and discussed with you before and during your hospital stay.Keep in mind that healing and recovery times vary with each person.

Are there complications? top of page

As with any surgery, there is a risk of complications, but complications after knee or hip replacement are uncommon . . . driving on an interstate highway is probably more dangerous.  As your surgeon about potential complications.

What about pain? top of page

We have yet to invent painless surgery. However, your doctor can prescribe medication to help control your discomfort after surgery.  Remember, the pain of surgery subsides, whereas the pain of untreated arthritis may remain or intensify.

What is the cost? top of page

Your direct cost will depend on your insurance coverage.  Remember, to get the full benefit of your insurance, both your physician and the hospital should be covered on your plan.

Members of the Health Alliance Senior Care Preferred Plus program can call 1-513-585-6462 for assistance with insurance paperwork. The Health Alliance hospitals do accept Medicare assignment.

Where will my surgery be performed? top of page

Alliance Joint Replacement Centers are located in The Christ Hospital, University Hospital, St. Luke East, St. Luke West and The Jewish Hospital. These Centers recognize that joint replacement patients are healthy people with sore joints.  That is why we have you stay in a room near other joint replacement patients.  We also encourage you to dress in clothes from home, invite you to participate in group activities, and treat you to special amenities.

Can I talk with someone who has had knee or hip replacement? top of page

Yes!  Many of our patients who have new knees or new hips have volunteered to talk on the phone with people who are considering surgery.  They are happy to share their experiences with you.  Just ask any of the physicians who participate in the Alliance Joint Replacement Center program for their "Voices of Experience" list for either knee or hip replacement. To find a joint specialist, call 1-888-749-DrDr (3737).  One you have the physician's name and office number, just let them know you heard of the Alliance Joint Replacement Centers and would like to schedule an evaluation.

The Health Alliance and its Joint Replacement Centers have partnered with the Arthritis Foundation to offer free courses to help you learn how to cope with arthritis. This six-week class meets one day a week for two hours each class.  It is offered several times each year at the Health Alliance hospitals, including The Christ Hospital, University Hospital, The St. Luke Hospitals, The Jewish Hospital and The Fort Hamilton Hospital.  To register for the next Arthritis Self-Help Course, call 1-888-640-CARE (2273).

The Health Alliance hospitals accept Medicare assignment. This information is not intended to render medical advice but to provide general information on knee and hip replacement. Your doctor will review your particular diagnosis and recommend the best course of treatment for you.