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Joint Replacement Jitters

If you are considering joint replacement surgery to relieve pain and restore function in a painful joint, it's natural to feel apprehensive. Learning the facts can help calm your fears.

Fear: Joint replacement surgery is extremely painful.

Fact: While joint replacement is still major surgery and some discomfort immediately after the procedure is to be expected, having a joint replaced is no longer the daunting experience it once was.

In the past, total joint replacement surgery typically involved a large incision to reach the damaged or diseased joint. Today, advances in surgical techniques allow surgeons to perform joint replacement through smaller incisions and with minimal disruption to surrounding tissues - resulting in less pain.

Fear: After surgery, I will be off my feet for a long time.

Fact: While not a quick fix, joint replacement surgery does not involve weeks or months of bed rest - in fact, every effort is made to get patients up and moving soon after the procedure, often the same day. 

Generally, joint replacement patients can expect to stay in the hospital for a few days after surgery, followed by a few weeks of outpatient physical rehabilitation. The time it takes to make a full recovery depends on many factors, including the reason for the surgery and type of procedure performed, as well as the age and overall health of the patient, but it typically takes three to six months.