When Is It Time for A Joint Replacement? | Youngstown Orthopaedic Associates

James P. Jamison, M.D.

For the person experiencing significant pain in the hip or knee from osteoarthritis, I always run through the same checklist of questions:

  • How much pain are you having on a scale of 1-10?
  • Is there pain with sitting?
  • Does the pain it awaken you at night?
  • Do you have pain with walking?
  • How far can you walk before you have to sit down?
  • Do you have pain with stairs or getting out of a chair?
  • Do you take the stairs one at a time?

We also review what conservative treatment options have been attempted, or if you have any medical reasons not to use certain conservative options.  Have you tried NSAIDs, bracing, injections and exercise, or have we documented why any of these choices have been avoided?  (Please see my recent discussion to review these topics further.)

After considering all of these factors, each patient needs to consider how much the hip or knee pain is affecting their life.

  • Are you missing social functions or family activities, avoiding leaving the house due to pain?
  • Are you missing playing with grandkids or going to their baseball games because it is too hard to get up into the bleachers?
  • Is it too hard to go to the grocery store?
  • Is the pain affecting your ability to work and to earn a living?
  • Are you unable to sleep due to pain?

If you see yourself in some or all of these descriptions, then next step is to consider if you are really ready for surgery.  Joint replacement surgeries are elective, which means you do not HAVE to have them.  It is not life or death, but rather a matter of quality of life.  How much has your quality of life decreased?  Enough that you are ready for a surgery?  Some patients feel that the surgeon should tell them when they are ready for surgery, when actually the opposite is true.  The patient is the one who is going to have the surgery, and who has to do the rehab to make the outcome successful.  The patient’s family is important, what they observe, how much trouble they feel the patient is having, but they cannot make the decision for surgery either.  Only the patient can decide when they are ready to go ahead with surgery.  When they make that decision, the success is much greater because the patient is determined to have a good result.

If you are having pain in the hip or knee and would like to come in for an evaluation, please give me a call!  We will go through these steps and see where you stand.

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Dr. James P. Jamison, M.D., is an orthopedic specialist with a focus on hip and knee joint replacement and reconstruction surgery. Referrals to Dr. Jamison by your primary care physician can be made by calling (330) 758-0577, Ext. 1102.

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