Joint Replacement Surgery On the Rise with High Success Rates
As our population ages, the prevalence of joint replacements is growing and so is its success. One of the primary reasons for joint replacement is osteoarthritis, says Curtis Hartman, MD, orthopedic surgeon at The Nebraska Medical Center, who specializes in primary and revision joint replacements.
A physical examination combined with laboratory tests and X-rays will show the extent of damage to the joint.
Some common indications for a joint replacement include:
- Documented arthritis on an X-ray.
- No relief from anti-inflammatories or other oral pain medications.
- Loss of mobility or the ability to perform normal tasks of daily living.
- Daily pain and difficulty sleeping due to pain.
- Referred pain in other parts of the body.
Dr. Hartman recommends patients exhaust the following therapies before they are considered for a total joint replacement:
- Lose weight.
- A regimen of anti-inflammatories or other oral pain medications.
- Corticosteroid injections.
- Viscosupplementation (currently approved for knee pain only).
When these therapies are no longer providing satisfactory pain relief, it may be time to refer your patient to an orthopaedic surgeon, says Dr. Hartman.
A joint replacement surgery typically requires a two-to-three-day hospital stay. Most patients have fully recovered within six to 12 weeks, says Dr. Hartman. Those with non-physical jobs can often return to work within four to six weeks. Physical therapy is recommended for six to 12 weeks after surgery, depending on which joint was replaced.
“We are a high-volume joint replacement facility,” says Dr. Hartman, one of 15 faculty at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). The department is staffed by experienced surgeons, scientists, biomedical engineers and researchers and teams of dedicated nurses, therapists and support personnel who collaborate to provide a total team approach to patient care. “We do more outcomes research with joint replacements than any other hospital in the region, including research on functionality of implants, longevity and survival,” says Dr. Hartman.
The department also includes a Biomechanics Lab that performs implant testing on designs and techniques and a Nano-Biotechnology Lab that focuses on building more durable and smarter implants to improve the longevity of implants.
To refer a patient for consultation with one of our specialists, call 800-922-0000.