Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 6 Issue 77 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 17-Mar-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 18-Mar-2004
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Information for patients: How do you know it's time for joint replacement surgery?

Jeffrey T. Nugent, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, says that if you are experiencing any of the following signs, you should speak to your rheumatologist or orthopedic surgeon about the possibility of joint replacement:

  • you are unable to sleep at night because of the pain
  • you've tried a series of different medications that don't help alleviate the pain, or the medication you have been on no longer works
  • you feel that the pain from your arthritis is keeping you from regular outings, such as visiting friends, going shopping or taking a vacation
  • your activity is restricted to the point where you have trouble getting out of a chair, going up stairs, getting off the toilet, or getting up from the floor.

From "All You Need to Know About Joint Surgery," (c) 2002, Arthritis Foundation

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What to Ask the Surgeon

Here are some questions to ask your surgeon about joint replacement:

  • What makes someone a good candidate for joint surgery?
  • What are the risks involved in joint surgery?
  • Would there be any other non-surgical treatments I haven't yet tried that would ease my pain and help me move more easily?
  • How would surgery help my particular problem?
  • What would not change after the operation?
  • How long is the recovery process?
  • What is involved in the recovery process?
  • What type of procedure would you recommend for me?
  • How often in the past year have you performed this operation?
  • Can you tell me what the outcome (decreased pain, improved function) has been for most of these patients?
  • Can you provide the names of several people I could contact to discuss their experiences with surgery?

From "All You Need to Know About Joint Surgery," (c) 2002, Arthritis Foundation

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