Is Arthroplasty Right For Me?
As the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons notes, longer lifespans mean that maladies like arthritis and joint deterioration are more common now than ever before. If you’re wondering if it’s time for hip or knee replacement — also known as Arthroplasty — Comprehensive Orthopaedics of the Gulf Coast can help you to better evaluate your options.
What is Arthroplasty?
Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure whereby joints in the hip, knee, and shoulder that have been badly worn or damaged by advanced arthritis are replaced. While it should be viewed as a last line of treatment, it’s highly effective and proven to give lasting relief to those for whom other, more conservative, treatments have proven ineffective.
How Do I Know It’s Time for Arthroplasty?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule for this. Most patients who elect to have a joint replacement performed are doing so for one (or both) of two reasons: pain and mobility restrictions. For mild pain and mobility issues, conservative approaches like painkillers, exercises, and physical therapy can work quite well. In advanced cases, where mobility keeps you from your work and day-to-day activities, or pain becomes a quality of life issue, surgery may be called for.
What Should I Expect?
Comprehensive Orthopedics of the Gulf Coast’s Dr. Rocha uses a direct anterior approach to surgery. This procedure spares muscle mass while avoiding soft-tissue trauma and blood loss. For patients, that means less pain, a shorter recovery time, and a faster return to full function than would be found with a more traditional approach to joint replacement.
Recovery time averages six weeks. Many patients fear the pain of recovery, but find that with proper pain management and diligent physical and occupational therapy, the pain during recovery is not only manageable, it’s also less than what they endured prior to surgery. The duration of recovery — and how you’ll feel during the process — will be determined in part by your physical condition and any other health issues you may have, so there’s no one size fits all template for recovery.
Is It Worthwhile?
Here again, it depends on your pre-surgical quality of life. If your pain and mobility issues are better managed by more conservative approaches, we typically advocate using them for as long as possible. However, given that a joint replacement lasts up to twenty years under normal use, that can mean many pain-free and active years ahead.
Who Will Perform My Surgery?
Your surgeon at Comprehensive Orthopaedics of the Gulf Coast is Dr. Jason Rocha, whose surgical calling came during his tenure in the United States Air Force. His education includes undergraduate work at the University of South Florida (summa cum laude), Florida State University Medical School (where he was a member of the inaugural graduating class).
Dr. Rocha leverages knowledge gained on humanitarian missions, trauma cases at Tampa General Hospital, and clinical rotations at Orlando Health Medical Center in Orlando, FL. After a six-year stint as director for Orthopedic Trauma at Baptist Hospital and Andrews Institute, he entered private practice in 2017.
To find out whether arthroplasty is the right approach to address your joint issues, schedule a consultation with Dr. Rocha at either of our Comprehensive Orthopaedics of the Gulf Coast locations.