The decision to have surgery is a major one. You likely aren’t looking to undergo an operation, spend time in hospital and in recovery if you don’t need to.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you contemplate exploring joint replacement surgery:
- Can I bear the pain that I am experiencing now, or does this pain significantly limit what I’m able to do?
- Have I given up all or most of the activities I enjoy because of pain and other arthritis symptoms?
- How much does my pain limit my movement and my ability to get around?
- Has my pain and stiffness increased steadily over the past several months to a year?
- Am I prepared for working through the recovery process from surgery, including post-surgery exercises and physical therapy if necessary?
- How will surgery help my condition? What realistic level of improvement can I expect following joint surgery?
- Are drugs, exercise and other therapies failing to provide the adequate relief that they have in the past?
- Does my health insurance fully cover joint surgery and recovery costs? Are there out-of-pocket expenses that I will have to bear? Can I afford these?
- Will I be able to take the necessary time off to recover from surgery? Will my family and/or loved ones be able to help me if I need them during my recovery?
If you are experiencing pain that has grown unbearable it may be time to make an appointment with your family physician to discuss your options. Based on your discussion and the results of medical tests, your family doctor will determine whether or not you should be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon.
If you are referred to an orthopaedic surgeon it’s important to be prepared for your appointment.
If you decide to have surgery, it’s important to learn all you can about joint replacement surgery and your role to achieve the best possible outcome.