Getting back on your feet

Total Joint Replacement

A total joint replacement is a major life event and can be a hard decision for you and your family.  The surgical team at Hammond-Henry Hospital provides proper education and a full understanding of what to expect before, during and after your procedure.

Total Joint Replacement FAQ’s:

What is a total joint replacement?

Total joint replacement is performed when arthritis or other degenerative changes occur and result in limitations of movement and in discomfort.

How is total joint replacement performed?

Patients are given an anesthetic and the surgeon removes the damaged parts of the joint and replaces them with an artificial joint called a “prosthesis”. The prosthesis is designed to move much like a normal joint and is generally made of metal such as stainless steel, alloys of cobalt, chrome, and titanium. Plastic bone cement may be used to anchor the prosthesis into the bone.

What is the recovery process?

Patients are encouraged to use their new joints soon after surgery. Generally, patients begin standing and walking the day after the procedure. An exercise program will be designed by our physical therapy department. Most patients will utilize a walker, crutches, or cane until they are strong enough to ambulate independently.

What are the possible complications?

A possible complication is that infection may occur in the wound. Infections are generally treated with antibiotics. These infections could occur in the hospital or after a patient goes home. Hammond-Henry has an extremely low infection rate of less than 1%, which is well below the national average.

Blood Clots can result from several factors. Decreased activity can cause the blood flow in the veins to slow down and form clots. It is crucial for patients to begin ambulating as soon as possible. At Hammond-Henry, surgeons usually order anticoagulants. Elastic stockings are applied and exercise is encouraged.  This is a very rare post-op complication.

How does a patient prepare for total joint replacement?

Patients are encouraged to begin exercising in order to speed the recovery process after surgery. Patients meet with a therapist in the Hammond-Henry Rehab Department and they will discuss your exercise options. Our surgical education staff will meet with you and obtain a complete health history and review your medications currently being taken. Lab work, chest x-ray, EKG, and other diagnostic studies may be ordered to ensure your health status is acceptable for this procedure.

How long will the total joint replacement last?

Most patients can expect their total joint replacement to last 20 years (in many cases more), allowing for many years of pain-free living.  

How many total joint replacements have been performed at Hammond-Henry Hospital?

The total joint program was initiated in 2005 with 16 procedures performed in that year. Since that initial start-up, we have had greater than a tenfold increase in joint replacements.