I frequently encounter people who have undergone replacement arthroplasty (joint replacement surgery), an orthopedic surgery procedure in which an arthritic or dysfunctional joint surface is replaced with an orthopedic prosthesis. Each person says they tried to hold out as long as possible because of the tremendous pain and costs associated with surgery.
According to the Mayo Clinic an estimated 4.7 million Americans have undergone total knee replacement and 2.5 million have undergone total hip replacement and are living with implants.
Medicare reported in 2014 that they paid for more than 400,000 joint replacement surgeries, which cost $7 billion for hospitalizations alone. The average cost for these procedures, including hospitalization and recovery, ranged from $16,500 to $33,000, depending on geographic location, not including rehabilitation costs.
The best way to care for your joints is to keep your muscles, ligaments, and bones strong and stable. Find a low-impact exercise program that’s appropriate for your age and weight, and stick with it. It’s equally important that you watch your weight. Weight-bearing joints, such as your knees, hips, and back, have to support some, if not all, of your body weight. Research has shown that with every pound gained, a person puts four times more stress on the knees alone.
When severe pain or joint damage limits your daily activities, joint replacement may still be your best option. A surgeon’s experience matters. It is recommended that you choose a physician or hospital that conducts many of these procedures each year. However, physical therapy is key to your recovery. Moving is critical not just in the days following surgery, but in the weeks and months ahead. The more you move, the better your long-term outcome.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the leadership at MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital, especially Tiffany Kiehl, CEO and Cielo Navato-Dehning, MD, Medical Director, for their invaluable contribution to post-operative care and rehabilitation.
As with every edition, we endeavor to share relevant information that keeps you healthy and moving for years to come. So eat well, keep moving and schedule
that annual checkup with your physician.
Be happy and healthy!
Ruth Ramsey, Publisher and CEO