Stevens Point Orthopedics recently hosted a Total Joint Replacement Education Night, to answer many common questions about joint replacement, as well as explain joint replacement procedures. 

The journey involved with having a joint replaced is less intimidating when you have more insight about total joint replacements, when to have one done, and what to expect. 

For those who were unable to attend, here’s a recap.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis – osteoarthritis is the most common – is an irreversible, degenerative joint disease that causes inflammation and breakdown of cartilage covering the ends of bones.

Almost one in four adults suffer from arthritis. Nearly half of Americans will develop symptomatic knee arthritis in their lifetime, and approximately 32.8% of people over sixty years old have shoulder arthritis.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • “Catching” sensation during movement
  • Activity related-symptoms
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Aching – especially at night
  • Difficulty moving after rest
  • Changes in alignment and/or structural shape of the joint.

X-ray images can help diagnose arthritis and its severity. Clinically, your orthopedic surgeon may notice decreased range of motion, tenderness over the joint, and gait abnormalities.

When Should You Consider A Joint Replacement?

You should consider a joint replacement when conservative treatments provide no further pain/symptom relief.

Conservative treatments include:

  • Activity modification
  • Weight loss
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Ambulation assistive devices (canes and walkers) or braces
  • Hot/cold applications
  • Joint injections (cortisone, hyaluronic acid)
  • Ointments
  • Prescription medications

You should also consider a joint replacement when:

  • Your quality of life decreases and daily living is too hard and limiting.
  • When you’re 50 or older.
  • After discussing it with your orthopedic surgeon and deciding what is best for you.

Total Joint Replacement

The goal of a total joint replacement is to increase the quality of your life by restoring pain and function. This is done by resurfacing and replacing a portion of the bone(s) with durable implants – most often a combination of metal and plastics.

Risks include but are not limited to:

  • Blood clots
  • Infection 
  • Stiffness
  • Nerve injury
  • Persistent pain
  • Eventual loosening of implanted components

Joint Replacement at SPO

Your total joint-replacement journey starts when you and your orthopedic surgeon decide that a joint replacement is the best treatment option for you.

Prior to your chosen surgical date, you will:

  • Meet individually with our Total Joint Coordinator – Shawn Dombrowski, RN – to develop a personalized discharge plan that is best for you after surgery
  • Have a medical evaluation done by your primary-care provider to make sure you are cleared for surgery
  • Be given strengthening exercises
  • Receive skin preparation for your surgery

Depending on the surgery and how it’s covered, you may have it done as an outpatient procedure or you may have a one day hospital stay. Following your total joint replacement, you will:

  • Work closely with Shawn
  • Be given early movement and physical therapy
  • Progress your exercises and activity
  • Have follow up appointments with our providers monitoring your post-op course
  • Celebrate the accomplishment of completing your Joint Journey at one of SPO’s bi-annual Joint Celebrations

Having a total joint replacement is a big life decision that can cause fear and anxiety, but here at SPO we are creating a joint replacement journey unlike anywhere else – one where we’re by your side through it all, to help decrease fear, answer questions, and get you back to the life you want to live.

If you’d like, you can watch the education night in its entirety on our Joint Journey page and hear our orthopedic surgeons explain in detail the science behind hip, knee, and shoulder replacements – and why you should choose SPO for your next joint replacement.

Meet our team here