Patients with recurring or chronic joint pain may feel that joint replacement surgery is their only option for relief. But there are various other less invasive options available today that can help them maintain mobility as they age.
Today, there are millions of baby boomers in the US who want to remain active well into their 60s, 70s, and beyond. Therefore, a significant amount of research in recent times has centered on joint health and replacement technology.
If a patient experiences joint pain, it does not automatically signal that they have to undergo joint replacement. In general, joint replacement surgery is performed for late stages of degenerative arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, after other options have proven unsuccessful. Far less invasive treatments can help address most causes of hip pain.
So how does a patient decide whether their arthritis or other joint damage requires attention? If the patient experiences joint pain to the point that it hinders their activities for over three days without improvement, or they have repetitive pain in the same area over several weeks or months, they should consult a doctor.
Southern California Hip Institute (SCHI), led by board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tigran Garabekyan, provides orthopedic surgery to patients in Los Angeles, Century City, CA, and surrounding communities.
Surgery should only be a Last Resort
Most patients with joint causes for joint pain do not need surgery. But surgery is not the first choice even if the patient has osteoarthritis. Regardless of the cause, it is important to preserve the joints for as long as possible, and particularly so for younger and highly active individuals.
Joint replacement is now much safer and involves a faster recovery than before. The patient may go back home from the hospital on the same day or one day following the surgery. However, joint replacement is a serious operation and should not be taken lightly.
Today, joint replacement parts last longer in comparison to earlier parts. However, these parts are mechanical and may become loose, or stiff, or develop complications and infection. In such cases, the patient may require additional surgeries in the future.
A majority of individuals now live into their 80s. Many people of the next generation will live over 100 years. An active person in their 50s who undergoes hip joint or knee replacement may require one or two more surgeries in their lifetime. Therefore, the surgeon should try to avoid a surgical procedure until later as much as possible.
Weighing the Options for Joint Preservation, despite Osteoarthritis
Age: Preservation techniques are usually more effective for younger patients.
Weight: The weight of the patient is proportional to the demand and pressure placed on a joint.
Muscle Strength and Conditioning: Muscles offer strength to the movement.
Severity: The doctor may, at times, treat small sites of cartilage thinning or erosion with procedures that are minimally invasive.
Location: The main focus of many joint preservation treatments is on the knees. However, a number of preservation therapies as alternatives to hip replacement are increasingly available as well.
The Advantages of Full Joint Replacement
It is vital to remember that joint replacement is a safe, proven and highly effective procedure for suitable patients who have been unresponsive to conservative treatment or if the damage to the bone or cartilage is beyond repair.
Patients should consult their doctors to understand the best options and long-term strategies for them. The basis for the best partnership for the patient should be the preservation of their joints as well as their activities and lifestyle.
Board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tigran Garabekyan receives patients from Los Angeles, Century City, CA, and nearby areas for orthopedic surgery.
Dr. Tigran Garabekyan is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip preservation. To learn more about Southern California Hip Institute or to schedule a consultation, click here to contact us or call:
Century City / Los Angeles: 310.595.1030
Serving patients in Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale, West Hollywood, Century City, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and other neighboring cities in the greater Los Angeles, California area.
Also visit http://www.drgorthopedics.com/