With Matthew D. Ohl, MD
Forms of hip replacements have been used since 1912 and have evolved drastically over the years since originally using bone cement.
Even since the 1990s, the speed of post-operative recovery has accelerated.
Thirty years ago, joint replacement patients were discharged in about a week and used crutches for up to two months. Today, patients are heading home the same day or the next and are walking immediately.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT BEFORE AND AFTER A JOINT REPLACEMENT?
Surgeries are usually performed under regional anesthesia with specific blocks. Newer medications help prevent bleeding, therefore the patient experiences less swelling and pain.
Early movement and mobility are extremely important to recovery. Patients are out of bed as soon as possible after surgery and begin walking immediately post-operation.
Patient discharge happens that same day or the day after. Family support is an essential part of recovery and studies have shown patients recover faster at home.
WHEN CAN I GET BACK TO MY ACTIVITIES AFTER A JOINT REPLACEMENT?
In the 1990s, patients could expect to be in a brace for the first few days after surgery. This is no longer necessary and walking can begin immediately.
In just a week, it’s possible to be back on a stationary bike as patients work towards recovery. Getting back behind the wheel and driving on your own is possible in three to four weeks with all normal activity typically resuming in just six weeks.
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