Hip and knee replacements are some of the most successful joint replacement surgeries performed in the US. They can significantly lower your joint pain allowing you to live a fuller and more active life. Here’s how to prepare if you need both hip and knee replacement:
- Learn as much as you can about the hip and knee replacement:
Ask your doctor if both replacements can be performed at the same time. This will depend on your specific condition and overall state of health. The benefits of undergoing both procedures together include less overall time under anesthesia and a faster return to work or routine activities than if the hip and knee replacements were performed in a staged manner.
If you have been recommended to have the joint replacements performed one at a time, the joint that is most symptomatic should be replaced first. Hip replacement is usually recommended when hip pain and knee pain are of the same intensity. This is because:
- The hip replacement surgery is less complex than knee replacement
- Recovery from hip replacement is shorter
- Knee pain may sometimes be reduced after hip replacement if the knee pain is actually “referred” pain originating in the hip.
The amount of time you need to wait prior to undergoing the second surgery will vary depending on your recovery, maybe 6 months or longer.
- Improve physical fitness:
- Lose excess weight through healthy dieting and exercise. Even a 5-pound weight loss can significantly lower the stresses acting on your new joint
- Quit smoking to speed up healing at the surgical site
- Avoid narcotics or drugs that can increase risk of surgical complications
- Perform exercises to strengthen the muscles that surround and support the joint
- Make your home environment safe:
- Rearrange furniture so there is enough space to move around when using a walker
- Remove loose rugs, wires, and other tripping hazards
- Install grab bars in the stairway and bathroom
- Place items that you use frequently in easy to reach places
- Use assistive devices such as long-handled shoehorns or grabbing tools to make it easier to perform activities of daily living
The thought of undergoing both the hip and the knee replacements can seem quite daunting, but most patients experience a dramatic improvement in quality of life after these highly safe and successful surgeries.
Dr. William P. Toole is a board-certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon with a prestigious fellowship in sports medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Toole specializes in the most cutting-edge and minimally invasive techniques and technology for shoulder and knee replacements, including patient-specific implants and robotic-assisted joint replacements. Dr. Toole is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSM), and Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA). Our team of physicians provides an advanced level of care, integrating the newest cutting-edge surgical and nonsurgical techniques, with proven traditional methods of treatments. The physicians at South Palm Orthopedics are committed to providing the highest level of orthopedic care to each and every patient each and every time.