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Joint Replacement Recovery

October 22, 2020

X-ray of joint replacement

Joints are moveable connections between two bones. Joints allow the body to bend, flex, and move in various ways. If joints become damaged, movement can become extremely limited and painful. When joint pain is so severe that it diminishes a person's quality of life, joint replacement surgery may be necessary.

Joint replacement reduces or eliminates discomfort and improves quality of life. Joint replacement surgery is extremely beneficial, but it does involve a recovery period. Individuals in the Austin, TX, area can learn more about what to expect from joint replacement recovery following treatment at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin.

How Long Will I Be in the Hospital?

Joint replacement surgery is a pretty major procedure. However, using advanced technology and minimally invasive techniques, we are able to make the procedure as smooth as possible for our patients. In nearly all cases, joint replacement surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning that patients are able to return home the day of treatment.

The only instances that a patient may be asked to stay in the hospital overnight are if they have preexisting conditions that require monitoring, or if they do not have a ride home from the hospital. Similarly, if a patient has a major joint replaced (such as the knee or hip) and they do not have assistance around the house, they may move from the hospital to a rehabilitation center.

Joint Replacement Side Effects

Every surgical procedure results in some degree of side effects. Following joint replacement, the most common side effects are:

  • Pain or discomfort
  • Inflammation around the treatment site
  • Bruising around the joint
  • Some joint stiffness

Most often, joint replacement side effects are mild to moderate. Patients should be able to control these side effects with over-the-counter pain medication and anti-inflammatories, cold compresses on the treatment site, and physical therapy exercises.

Rehabilitation After Joint Replacement

Rehabilitation is a major part of joint replacement recovery. Our Austin patients can expect to start some form of physical therapy before their joint replacement. Physical therapy resumes again shortly after the surgical procedure. Patients are often surprised how quickly they are able to walk, move, and exercise, and how much relief they feel so soon after surgery.

Once patients return home from their surgery, rehabilitation and physical therapy will continue. Each patient's recovery timeline will vary slightly, but patients can expect to meet with a physical therapist a few times a week for between four and six weeks. In addition, they will be taught exercises to do on their own at home.

Average Length of Recovery

The length of joint replacement recovery is affected by factors such as which joint is replaced, the patient's age and overall health, and how closely patients adhere to post-surgical care instructions. In most cases, patients start to feel significantly better within a week or two after their surgical procedure. Patients are generally considered completely recovered between two and six weeks after treatment.

Learn More

If you require joint replacement surgery, the team of doctors at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin would be happy to prepare you for what to expect before, during, and after your surgical procedure. To learn more, send us a message online at your earliest convenience or call (512) 476-2830 to schedule a consultation.