Joint replacement may not be the best solution for everyone. Many factors determine whether trading in your aching joint for a stronger, better, faster replacement is the right step.

The nuts and bolts of joint replacement

Joint replacement surgery exchanges the worn out part with a prosthesis made of plastic, metal or a combination of both. With successful outcomes in more than 90 percent of cases,* patients who've had a joint replaced may enjoy better quality of life, relief from pain, stiffness or swelling and improved range of motion.

When is joint replacement the right choice?

The severity each individual’s condition will likely be a significant factor in the decision to have joint replacement surgery. If aching and stiff joints cause constant pain, limit ability to walk or climb stairs and affect quality of life, that individual may be a likely candidate for joint replacement surgery.

“The goal of a total joint replacement is to relieve the pain and improve function in the joint caused by damage to the cartilage by fracture or arthritis,” explains Dr. Paul Matson, orthopedic surgeon at Redwood Area Hospital. “The pain may be so severe that a person will avoid using the joint, weakening the muscles around the joint and making it even more difficult to move the joint.”

Some other considerations include:

• Alternatives to surgery. Depending on the cause of joint pain, medications, physical therapy or aids such as a brace may be effective treatment options.

• Age. Prosthetic joints typically last only 10 to 15 years, making younger candidates more likely to need additional surgeries to have the prosthetic joint replaced.

• General health. Certain diseases, such as high blood pressure or heart and lung disease increase the risks associated with surgery. Osteoporosis and bone or joint deformity may affect the success of joint replacement.

• Weight. Obesity can prolong recovery and affect the durability of the new joint.

Why choose local care?

Total joint replacement is offered at Redwood Area Hospital through partnership with the Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic based in Mankato.

Orthopedic specialists, Dr. Edwin Harrington and Dr. Paul Matson, have been seeing patients and performing orthopedic surgeries at the local hospital for many years.

“Being able to provide total joint replacements at Redwood Area Hospital is a great benefit to our patients,” said Dr. Harrington. “Our patients are able to begin their rehabilitation process with the hospital’s rehab team very soon after surgery and throughout their recovery, providing a consistent continuum of care during a major surgical event.”

To learn more, call Redwood Area Hospital’s Convenient Care department at 507-637-4631.

* Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, www.ahrq.gov.