Benefits and Risks
Surgery Message Board
Fact Sheets from the AAOS
- Improved movement and use of a joint. Surgery can replace or stabilize the joint, allowing you to stand and walk more easily.
- Pain relief. Surgery can relieve pain that doesn't respond to other treatment options.
- Improved alignment of deformed joints. Re-aligning the joints can improve the functioning of those joints, plus make cosmetic improvements.
- Other health problems must be under control. If you have such medical conditions as heart disease or lung problems, the strain of surgery could be too much for you. Infections also must be cleared up before surgery or they could cause serious complications.
- Blood clots can develop. You can reduce this risk by taking blood-thinning medications and doing leg exercises to increase circulation before surgery. Discuss this potential risk with your doctor long before surgery.
- Being overweight can add extra stress on your heart and lungs during surgery. Excess pounds can also slow your recovery. If you are overweight, think about the risks carefully and consider losing weight before you decide to go ahead with the operation.
- Recovery takes time and requires a commitment from you. There are exercises and a strict treatment plan that you'll need to follow after the procedure. Your willingness to put effort into your recovery can make a big difference in how well you recover. You'll need to be ready for several weeks of work after the operation to make it a success.
- Surgery is expensive. The cost varies depending on the type of surgery, the hospital, medications and other therapies, special tests and your insurance coverage. Be sure to discuss these concerns with your doctor and insurance company well in advance so you aren't surprised when the bills come.
This information was adapted from The Arthritis Foundation's Guide to Good Living with Osteoarthritis and the free Arthritis Foundation brochure Surgery & Arthritis: What You Need to Know. Both can be ordered from the Arthritis Store.