Risks of delaying Joint Replacement Surgery

Many patients delay joint replacement surgery due to the fear of pain during surgery and post operative physiotherapy. Another common myth is the fear “ I might never walk again and will be bed ridden”.  But delaying the joint replacement surgery is not a good idea and it can worsen your deformity and affect your quality of life. Joint replacement surgery is only offered when your pain is not relieved with non operative medications, and your activities of daily living are affected. 

The joint replacement surgery involves removing the damaged parts of the joint  and replacing it with an artificial joint.

When is Joint Replacement Surgery Recommended?

Doctors recommend joint replacement surgery in the following conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis: This condition occurs when the cartilage breaks down and causes severe pain and the functional disability of the joint gets affected. If neglected, walking, climbing stairs, and simple activities of daily living become affected. 
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: It’s a condition where there is synovitis and swelling of the soft tissues around the knee which slowly destroys the cartilage in the joint. It causes pain, inflammation, tenderness, even joint stiffness and affects the younger population.
  • Post-Traumatic Arthritis: It occurs due to an injury or fracture. Though fracture fixation is done, cartilage damage can occur and progress to full blown arthritis. this can take many years to develop. .

Apart from this, there can also be several other reasons to recommend joint replacement surgery based on your condition, age, signs, and lifestyle habits.

Why Joint Replacement Surgery Should Not be Delayed?

Apart from fear and pain, there can also be several reasons for delaying joint replacement surgery. Before deciding on joint replacement surgery, the doctors first recommend non-surgical methods. If those treatments do not work, then only surgery is recommended. 

Delaying surgery can cause the following issues:

  • Further damage to bones and joints: Over time, after the cartilage is completely worn out,as the deformity worsens it starts damaging the bone leading to bone loss. Joint Deformation: Arthritis develops slowly over months or years. As the condition progresses, joint deformation increases gradually. The complexity of joint replacement surgery increases as the joint deformity increases. Hence, the surgeon needs to perform an extensive procedure to deal with the deformity. To avoid this, it is important to undergo surgery at the earliest possible.
  • Joint stiffness: The movement of the joint becomes limited as joint arthritis progresses. As a result, the soft tissues around the joint including ligaments, joint muscles, and capsules may contract and cause joint stiffness. This is a complex problem to deal with during surgery. 
  • Muscle strength: Arthritis progresses over time and the muscles surrounding the joint will begin to weaken. Recovery from surgery also becomes complex and even the muscle may not regain its complete strength for at least 6 months. 
  • Constant pain: If you avoid treatment for joint pain, you need to take constant medications to get relief from the pain. This can cause problems with the kidneys. This severe pain also disturbs your quality of life and affects your overall health.
  • Posture: Due to the pain and discomfort, your body posture gets affected and this eventually causes more pain in other body parts like spine and ankle. 
  • Chances of injury: As you walk with pain and discomfort, you may have a risk of an injury. The high chances of a fall are also high due to poor balance and stability.
  • The complexity of surgery: As you delay surgery, the damage to the joint keeps on increasing. Hence, performing surgery can become complicated and the surgery time also increases. 
  • Inactivity: Due to pain and severity of the deformity, you may not be able to perform basic activities of daily living like going to the washroom, going out shopping, visiting places of worship, etc. This can affect your lifestyle and can lead to depression.
  • Compensatory issues: People who have joint pain may put more pressure on other body parts. For instance, if your hip joint got affected, you put more pressure on your back for lifting objects and for walking. As a result, it causes back pain.
  • If you delay joint replacement surgery worrying about cost and recovery time, you end up dealing with more pain in the long run. Many patients who had joint replacement surgery reported reduced pain and increased mobility. They also convey that it would be easier for them if they had the surgery sooner.

Is Your Joint Pain Affecting your Lifestyle? Dr Suhas Masilamani Can Help you

If you are suffering from severe joint pain and it is restricting you from performing your regular activities, then you need to consider visiting a doctor. Dr Suhas Masilamani is one of the best joint replacement surgeons in Hyderabad. He offers a wide variety of orthopedic services in Hyderabad. Before deciding on joint replacement surgery, he considers other alternatives as well based on your age, joint function, the extent of pain, etc. He ensures to offer the best possible service for you. To learn more about the services or to schedule an appointment, call us today.