Living with pain in your joints can be challenging. If you are experiencing pain in your knee, hip or shoulder that is affecting your daily life, it may be time to see an orthopedic specialist to talk about joint replacement surgery.
Joint replacement can be a life-changing procedure for those who have been struggling with chronic joint pain. Imagine being able to live your life without pain, sleep better, regain your independence and get back to doing the things you enjoy. A joint replacement can get you there.
Joint replacement is a safe and effective procedure that can improve joint function, reduce pain and enhance quality of life. More than one million joint replacements are performed in the U.S. each year, and a hip or knee replacement done today can last for 20 or more years.
- Diagnosis and treatment of joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, chronic joint pain and joint trauma.
- Joint camp, which teaches patients what to expect before, during and after a joint replacement (provided in Albuquerque only).
- Advanced technologies and techniques to ensure the best possible outcomes.
- A full continuum of care, such as therapy services and rehabilitation.
Frequently asked questions about joint surgery
Our joints are in constant movement. When a joint starts to wear out, the cartilage (or cushioning) around the joint breaks down, causing bones to rub together. Advanced and end-stage joint disease can be caused by:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Other inflammatory joint problems
- Previous joint injuries
- Joint infections
- Other rare conditions that cause chronic joint pain
A total joint replacement (also known as arthroplasty) is a surgical procedure performed by an orthopedic surgeon. During the procedure, the arthritic or damaged areas of the joint are removed and replaced with a metal or plastic device. This device is designed to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint. Hip and knee replacements are the most common joint replacements, but replacement surgery can be performed on other joints, such as the ankle, wrist, shoulder and elbow.
The first step for a joint replacement procedure is to meet with an orthopedic doctor. They can use diagnostic imaging and a physical examination to diagnose and determine if a joint replacement is right for you.
Depending on your results, an orthopedic specialist may recommend joint replacement surgery if:
· You suffer from limited mobility, swelling or stiffness that severely limits your daily activities and quality of life.
· You’ve already tried other non-surgical joint pain treatments, such as exercise modifications, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, injections and braces.
You continue to experience a decline in function and disabling pain.
Our surgeons use many of the latest treatments and newest technologies to perform less-invasive procedures.
In Albuquerque, we offer Mako Robotic-Assisted Surgery. Mako SmartRobotics™ is an innovative solution for many suffering from painful arthritis of the knee or hip. Mako uses 3D CT-based planning software so your surgeon can know more about your specific anatomy to create a personalized joint replacement surgical plan. This 3D model is used to pre-plan and assist your surgeon in performing your joint replacement. Mako’s technology allows for a more predictable surgical outcome, quicker recovery and less pain.
In Albuquerque, our surgeons also perform the anterior approach to hip replacement, or total hip arthroplasty, which allows doctors to perform a hip replacement surgery with a minimally invasive technique, using a smaller incision on the front (anterior) of the hip rather than the back or side. This generally results in less trauma to the tissue under the skin, which means less pain and a faster recovery.
Learn more about the anterior approach to hip replacement.
Recovery varies from patient to patient and is dependent on a number of factors including the type of procedure performed and the patient’s age, weight and activity level. Some patients who receive joint replacement are able to return home the same day as surgery while others may require a short overnight stay in the hospital. It is typically expected that the patient is able to independently get in and out of bed, get dressed and use the toilet at the time of discharge.
Many joint replacement patients are routinely standing and walking within a day or two of surgery with the aid of an assistive device such as a cane, walker or crutches. Some patients are even walking the same day as surgery. Most patients are able to resume driving within 2-8 weeks once they have discontinued use of opioid pain medications and have received approval from their doctor. The timeline for a patient to return to work will vary. Someone with a sedentary job may be able to return to work within a few weeks, while someone with a more physically demanding job will require a longer recovery before returning to work.
Every person’s anatomy and situation are unique, so it’s important to discuss your specific recovery timeline with your orthopedic surgeon.
During your appointment, we will perform a full evaluation to determine the best treatment option for you. You do not need a referral to be seen by one of our orthopedic doctors, although some insurance companies and plans do require you to be referred by a primary care physician to receive health services. To ensure no referral is needed, please call your insurance company.
The anterior approach to hip surgery
Having a hip replaced can restore your quality of life, but it’s still a serious surgical procedure. Now, with the anterior hip replacement technique, qualified patients can undergo this procedure with less pain and faster recovery time and often see their range of motion return almost immediately.
This procedure allows doctors to perform hip replacement surgery with a minimally invasive technique, creating multiple benefits for the patient. The surgery uses a smaller incision on the front (anterior) of the hip rather than the back or side, generally resulting in less trauma to the tissue under the skin.
While traditional hip replacement patients usually stay about three to five days in the hospital, those undergoing anterior hip surgery often have shorter stays – commonly one to two days. Following the anterior approach procedure, patients usually enjoy a greater range of movement almost immediately. In most cases, patients can use their hip normally without restrictions.
As the incision is on the front of the hip, patients don’t incur the pain of sitting on the incision site. There’s also a smaller surgical scar left by the anterior approach.
Not all patients are candidates for the anterior approach. The results and recovery from hip replacement depend on a wide range of factors including age, weight and activity level. If you’re tired of living with hip pain, talk to your orthopedic surgeon about what’s best for you.
101 Hospital Loop NE Ste 201
Albuquerque, NM 87109
500 Walter St NE Ste 104
Albuquerque, NM 87102
115 E. 19th Street
Roswell, NM 88201-515