Hip arthroplasty recovery can be quick and smooth provided post arthroplasty care is taken well. The statistics are excellent for knee arthroplasty recovery and shoulder arthroplasty recovery too, and it is essential to follow the doctor’s orders carefully during the post-operative phase.
Tips for Arthroplasty Recovery
The biggest cause of the failure of an arthroplasty surgery can be to the loosening of the artificial joint. Your physical therapist and doctor will advise you on how to prevent any damage to your joint and care should also be taken to avoid the following complications.
Arthroplasty Recovery Tips #1 – Preventing Blood Clots
Deep venous thrombosis or blood clots in the leg are complications that can crop up in the post operative stage. Between 50-70% of patients who undergo total knee arthroplasty are reported to develop asymptomatic deep venous thrombosis.
However, this can be avoided by taking early precautions. These include using anti-thromboembolism stockings and pneumatic boots. Medications that reduce clotting and thin the blood like Coumadin, heparin or Lovenox are normally used to prevent this complication.
Arthroplasty Recovery Tips #2 – Preventing Dislocation
Sufficient care should be taken to prevent dislocation of the artificial joint. A primary study involving 60,000 patients undergoing primary hip arthroplasty and 13,000 revision hip arthroplasty showed that the overall dislocation rates were 3.9% and 14.4% respectively. A majority of the dislocations happen in the first month after the surgery.
Patients are usually told to avoid certain positions to prevent dislocations. After a hip or knee surgery, you will be told not to cross your legs, bend the hip more than 90 degrees or turn your feet either inward or outward.
Also take care that you do not cross your legs and place your ankle on your knee while sitting. This position is extremely dangerous and can cause the implant to loosen. Keeping a pillow between your legs is also advisable. In the case of shoulder arthroplasty, dislocations may occur due to malposition of the implant. In this case, the doctor may advise immobilization of the joint.
Arthroplasty Recovery Tips #3 – Avoiding Infections
Given the sterile operating conditions and new generation antibiotics, infections are rare but do happen. Infections in the case of total knee arthroplasty have been reported in 1 to 2.5% of cases.
Doctors normally use prophylactic antibiotics routinely as soon as the operation is over in order to prevent any chances of infection. Infected prosthetic devices may require removal of the artificial joint and a revision surgery.
Arthroplasty Recovery Tips #4 – Avoiding Loosening in the Artificial Joint
Loosening of the joint is a cause for concern since it can involve revision surgery. However, the possibility has come down significantly over the years. The possibility of the joint loosening is higher in people who are overweight or have high activity levels.
People who have undergone hip surgery are likely to experience loosening after 10 to 15 years, in case there are no complications that cause it to happen earlier. Symptoms of joint loosening include pain in the groins and the development of a limp. It is imperative to consult your doctor if you experience these symptoms.
While hip and knee arthroplasty have high success rates, it is important that care is taken and these basic arthroplasty recovery tips are followed, to prevent arthroplasty complications.