Joint replacement is a major orthopaedic surgical procedure and therefor usually ‘the end of the line’ of treatment. Sometimes, when all other treatment options like standard medication, physiotherapy, special massage techniques and alternative approaches like Yoga don’t deal with the pain caused by the worn out joint, or the pain simply gets unbearable, the only solution might be the replacement of the arthritic joint with an artificial one. The by far most often replaced joints are the knee and hip, followed by shoulder and ankle. Consultant orthopaedic and experienced hip and knee surgeon Dr. Alf Neuhaus makes the decision to replace the joint together with the patient and her/ his relatives or friends. The main indication is the pain caused by the joint, which can be that bad that it even affects you when resting and at night. Radiographic images are always taken to confirm the stage of arthritis, and are also needed for the surgeon to plan the procedure, but they are not decisive. Even an ‘only’ moderately worn out joint can already cause tremendous pain, meanwhile other joints, looking completely worn out on X-rays, are still doing fine.
Once it has been agreed to go ahead with the surgery, Uk- trained orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Alf Neuhaus, will sit down with you and go through the details of the procedure – as much as you wish to know -, explain the anaesthetic options – general or epidural – and all the different stages after the surgical intervention. The usual hospital stay would be 3 – 4 days, and the further post- operative treatment – wound care, X-rays, removal of stitches (NO staples), physio, and lymph drainage - would be done in the facilities of Clinica SANDALF. The first couple of days after the surgery are rather uncomfortable, but the pain – caused by the surgical procedure, not the arthritis – would subside quickly and you should be walking fully weight bearing with the support of crutches pain free, after 10 to 14 days. The UK- trained physiotherapist would teach you the exercises needed and do gait training with you, and within 6 – 8 weeks you should be walking without any aid at all. Minor sports like stationary bike or swimming can be initiated after 3 – 4 weeks, other activities like playing golf should be possible after 10 – 12 weeks. The only thing that might remind you by than that you actually have an artificial joint, would be the scar (at the hip about 4-5 inches, at the knee 6-7 inches) and possibly the metal detector at the airport (knee replacements).