Joint Replacement

Patients who need joint replacement surgery deserve the best surgical care – before, during and after their operation. MaineHealth surgeons are committed to providing the best surgical treatment for patients who need joint replacement surgery, so they can improve their quality of life and regain strength.

What is a joint replacement?

Joint replacement surgery is removing a damaged joint and putting in a new one. Joint replacement surgery may be necessary if non-surgical treatment, such as physical therapy, medicine and lifestyle changes fail to help pain and disability.

Joint replacement types

There are different types of joints within the body. Joint replacement surgery can be performed for various joints. Some types of joint replacements include:

  • Hip replacement

  • Total knee replacement

  • Total shoulder replacement

  • Total elbow replacement

  • Wrist joint replacement

 Talk to your provider if you think that a joint replacement may be right for you or a loved one. Your provider may provide a referral to see an orthopedic specialist.

Is a joint replacement right for me?

Before getting a joint replacement, you will have a thorough medical exam, so that your surgeon understands the damage to the affected joint and how it affects your movement.

A joint replacement may benefit people who have difficulty with normal activities such as walking, dressing, climbing stairs, or getting in and out of cars. People who may need joint replacement surgery usually have some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Severe joint pain

  • Stiffness

  • Limping

  • Muscle weakness

  • Limited motion

  • Swelling

Talk to your provider to find out if joint replacement may be an option for you. Your provider may give you a referral to see an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation.

Joint replacement recovery

Rehabilitation therapy and/or physical therapy will usually start quickly after you are settled in your room after surgery. A rehabilitation specialist or physical therapist will work with you and provide exercises to increase your strength and range of motion of the joint that was replaced.

A combination of an over-the-counter pain medicine and a narcotic pain medicine is usually prescribed after joint replacement surgery to reduce pain and swelling.

Antibiotics are also prescribed to reduce the risk of infection after surgery.

Sometimes patients are prescribed blood thinning medicine for a short time to reduce the risk of blood clots after surgery.

Joint replacement complications

Most joint replacements are successful but complications may arise after surgery. Some complications associated with joint replacement include:

  • Infection

  • Blood clots

  • New joint loosening

  • Wear

  • Dislocation

  • Nerve and blood vessel injury

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