Joint Replacement Surgery Success Determined Prior to Operation

Lifestyle modifications, physical therapy all part of making surgery a success

DAYTON, Ohio (July 9, 2018) – The success of joint replacement surgery could be determined by the choices a patient makes during the three months prior to entering the operating room.

Lifestyle modifications and participation in physical therapy create a strong foundation for a patient facing a hip or knee replacement, according to Dennis Brown, MD, and John Powell, MD, two orthopedic surgeons with Premier Orthopedics.

“Once an individual determines they want to have surgery, there are a lot of steps that can be done to maximize the benefit of the surgical outcome,” said Dr. Brown. “We discuss with individuals the things they can do prior to surgery including addressing modifiable risk factors such as smoking, being overweight or having poor muscle tone. These are things that can be easily addressed and can have a huge impact on a person’s surgical procedure.”

Most individuals consider joint replacement surgery because they are in a lot of pain. Therefore, the priority often becomes getting the joint replacement done as soon as possible rather than spending extra time preparing for surgery, said Dr. Brown, who practices with Premier Physician Network.

“Ideally, we want patients to undergo prehab up to three months before surgery, but that’s not always possible especially when patients are making their decision in a time of pain,” he said.

Dr. Powell said patients who take the time to prepare for surgery will be set up for success for various reasons. Here’s a look at just a few:

Proper evaluation – Take time to have your health evaluated by your primary care physician prior to surgery. This includes your overall health such as blood sugar levels that can have an impact on a surgery’s healing and success. It also focuses on the strength of the muscles surrounding the site where a joint will be replaced. 

Find the right program – Prep work isn’t one size fits all. Drs. Brown and Powell recommend pre-surgery programs based on the evaluation of each patient. Individuals who have good range of motion and are motivated may benefit from a joint replacement class where instructors introduce exercises that can be done at home. Others may need more guidance or motivation. A prehab class that provides the help of a physical therapist may be a better fit for them.

Address risk factors – Lifestyle modifications such as smoking cessation, losing weight and getting diabetes under control are national norms that have been established for good surgical outcomes. Glucose levels that are higher than normal can increase a person’s risk for infection, impede healing or even compromise the strength of new joint components.

Time spent prepping for surgery can seem daunting especially when coupled with consuming pain. However, patients will be thankful they committed to the time.

“Even if someone is able to start therapy three weeks prior to surgery, it can provide significant benefits,” said Dr. Powell. “It not only allows a person to prepare for surgery, but helps them understand the exercises they will need to do once the joint replacement is done.”

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