Health and Wellbeing Tips for Seniors

Joint Replacement Surgeries: Some Considerations for Seniors

Do you have a friend or family member who has had a joint replacement surgery? Replacement of hips, knees and shoulder joints are becoming so common that you probably do know someone who has gone through the experience. And, if the patient followed directions and did the required exercises, they probably have had fairly good results.

How do you decide when to move ahead with a replacement surgery? What are the considerations you must make before deciding to go forward with one of these life-changing operations?

Here is a helpful checklist of items to consider before you make the decision to have a joint replacement surgery:

What are your goals? Do you want relief from daily pain? Do you want to return to your current level of activity or are you hoping for a return to vigorous activity of younger years?

Are you in good enough health to proceed with a major surgery?

What is your health care insurance coverage? Can you afford to do the surgery?

Do you know the least invasive surgery available to you? Is that what you need, or do you need a total replacement?

Where will you have the surgery? Do you want to travel to find either a less expensive procedure or to use the services of a doctor with more experience in your particular type of surgery?

Are you interested in taking part in clinical trial surgeries or do you want to wait until the surgeries are perfected?

Do you have confidence in the surgeon you will have and do you know the medical team that will assist and follow up after your surgery?

Questions to ask

What is the least invasive procedure that will meet my current needs? What do you recommend and why?

What is your complication rate on such a surgery?

What follow-up care will you provide and will I need?

What are the risks of having this procedure? What is the risk if I postpone the procedure?

In any case, you have a major decision to make. If you are in chronic pain, the prospect of living a daily life free from pain is very attractive. But you’ll want to weigh the kinds and quality of procedures available to you. In general larger cities will have professionals with more experience and working in better facilities and with better staffs.

How much do you trust the surgeon who will do your procedure? How willing are you to do the follow up exercises, even though they will be painful?

Take the time to do your research before embarking on the path of total joint replacement. Once armed with the best information, you’ll be able to make the decision just right for you and your optimal health.

For more information on total joint replacement see:

Arthritis Foundation

Joint Replacement Surgery

Family Doctor