Hint: It's not as simple as many patients seem to think.
Joint replacement surgery, while often helpful for many, still has a myriad of medical risks as well as many months of rehabilitation. Many individuals are under the impression that joint replacement is somewhat like just plugging a few Lego pieces together. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Here’s what Dr. Wadell, Orthopedic Surgeon, says about the issues with these surgeries:
“ …Risks associated with the surgery or with subsequent required revisions. The complications associated with TKR (total knee replacement) have been extensively studied and include infection, pulmonary embolism, thrombosis (blood clots) fat embolism, hemarthrosis, patellar fracture, heterotopic ossiﬁcation, stiffness, nerve damage, vascular injuries, urinary complications, and increased mortality (death)”. He further states, “A recent study showed that postoperative mortality more than tripled in patients over 85 years following primary hip or knee replacement compared with patients 75 to 79 years of age. In a 10-year survivorship analysis, greater mortality rates after TKR were shown to be associated with: increasing age (p < 0.001), poorer health (p < 0.001), smoking (p < 0.001), BMI < 20 kg/m2 (p < 0.001), and rheumatoid arthritis (p < 0.001)”
In summary, these studies underscore the importance of delaying TKR in certain patient populations and also encourage the need for a more well-tolerated, less invasive treatment option for these patients.
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