Is Total Joint Replacement Right for You?

Answers to five common questions

As you age, knee and hip pain due to osteoarthritis can become a daily ordeal – but is total joint replacement surgery right for you? Five Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) orthopedic surgeons, with LVPG Orthopedics and Sports Medicine and Coordinated Health, share what to consider and expect.

How do I know if I need joint replacement surgery?

Once diagnostic tests confirm osteoarthritis, nonsurgical options such as weight loss, physical therapy, pain medication and joint injections may help. “Joint replacement is the last option to consider after first trying more conservative measures,” says orthopedic surgeon Prodromos Ververeli, MD. Does joint pain diminish quality of life? Regularly cause sleep loss? Impair normal function or activities, including work and recreation? If so, surgery may be called for.

Am I too old (or young) for surgery?

Many people get total joint replacement surgery in their 60s or older after a lifetime of joint wear and tear. “But age isn’t the most important consideration,” says orthopedic surgeon Eric Lebby, MD. “A younger person can be a candidate if joint damage is significant enough.” In older people, overall health and ability to recover counts more than age.

What happens during joint replacement surgery?

A surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone, and replaces them with prosthetic components designed to relieve pain and restore function. “A variety of specialized tools and technologies allow us to precisely adapt the implant to each person’s anatomy to maximize function after surgery,” says orthopedic surgeon Wayne Luchetti, MD.

What happens after joint replacement surgery?

Your doctor will encourage you to start using the new joint as soon as possible – sometimes the same day as surgery. “With modern pain protocols and surgical techniques, patients are commonly walking and full weight bearing a few hours after surgery. Specific therapy exercises are initiated and advanced to regain strength and return to normal activities. ”says orthopedic surgeon Tom Meade, MD.

How long will recovery take?

Everyone’s recovery is different. But most people return home in a day and can ride an exercise bike within two weeks. “Pain immediately after surgery is often less than prior pain from arthritis,” says orthopedic surgeon Jonathon Brown, DO. After recovering with help from physical therapy and exercise, most people can return to normal, pain-free activities within eight to twelve weeks.

How is joint pain impacting your life? Learn what your next steps may be at LVHN.org/jointpain.

Healthy Aging Resources

At Lehigh Valley Health Network, we are committed to providing quality care to the people of our community at all ages and stages of life.

General orthopedics

LVHN and Coordinated Health have been regional leaders in orthopedic care for over 30 years. When a bone, joint or sports injury sidelines your activities, we’re here to help. We have the most board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons in every specialty including joint replacement, sports medicine, spine surgery, physiatry, foot and ankle surgery and podiatry, hand surgery, pediatric orthopedics, rheumatology, chiropractic medicine and orthopedic trauma. With convenient access across the region, you can see a physician today, close to home.

Lehigh Valley Heart Institute

At Lehigh Valley Heart Institute, you have a partner willing and capable of taking on the toughest heart care challenges. Our team of heart specialists works collaboratively to share expertise and develop the best care plan based on your unique medical condition and personal preferences. More people in the region trust the Heart Institute with their cardiac care than any of our competitors, according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.

Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute

For decades, LVHN has maintained a track record for outstanding cancer care. In 2017, we solidified our commitment to furthering these efforts by forming Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute. Collaboration among multiple cancer specialists is a key component of our program, including medical-, radiation- and surgical oncologists. Our membership in the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance takes this concept to another level. We work alongside the best and brightest cancer experts to bring you leading-edge care and access to groundbreaking clinical trials.

Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence

At the Institute for Surgical Excellence, you have a partner who sets the bar for surgical excellence. Our institute model brings together many different types of surgeons who excel at what they do. These surgeons – along with our exceptional medical staff and nursing teams – share their expertise to come up with a care plan that’s best for you, using the most effective treatments available today.

That means you’ll receive the highest level of care across our entire system – whether you need routine surgery or surgery for a complex medical condition.

Rehabilitation Services

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) offers a wide range of inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services. We help you recover and achieve the highest level of function possible after injury or illness. With five inpatient locations and more than 40 outpatient convenient locations in six counties, you’re never far from the rehabilitation care you need.

Veteran Health Program

Those serving in the U.S. military have a mission to protect and defend. Once home, veterans may need our help navigating complex health care systems. The Veteran Health Program (VHP) addresses the potentially unique circumstances of men and women who have performed military service. VHP staff are professionals knowledgeable in veteran care as it relates to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs/Department of Defense benefits to accessing care and they’re well-versed in veterans’ health care needs.

Geriatric Health

As people age, their health care needs may change. The geriatrics program at Lehigh Valley Health Network provides primary care to patients age 65 and older who have at least three medical issues. This patient population has more complex medical needs, often requiring the high level of care that has become our standard.

Care close to home: LVH-Dickson City

Lehigh Valley Health Network is bringing award-winning care to Dickson City in summer 2022. Scranton is the third-largest community within the regions served by LVHN. Not only will LVHN be right here in your community to heal, comfort and care – the facility will also be adding more than 260 new jobs to the region.

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