Watch and listen to orthopedic surgeon Timothy Gibbons, MD who discusses how osteoarthritis limits function and creates pain in your knee, hip & shoulder joints and how joint replacement surgery can increase your function, take away the pain and help increase the quality of your life.
Timothy Gibbons, MD (Orthopedic Surgeon):
Having an artificial joint is a serious decision and it’s not to be taken lightly. It’s a big operation that comes down to the question of is my life being compromised to the point that the risks are worth it? And there will be a day and you will know it. You will know it better than I will know it, that I am done suffering. I deserve something better. This is compromising my life, that I’m not going to put up with any more.
Arthritis, it can be caused by a bunch of different pathways, and the most common is osteoarthritis, where your joint is just wore out. The cartilage that lines the ends of the bone that makes it a gliding surfaces have eroded away to the point where it’s no longer a no-stick surface, it is now like driving down a gravel road. And that causes a chemical reaction inside the joint called inflammation. And that inflammation then causes pain, and then eventually they start eroding the joint away and the bone becomes misaligned and you lose motion and that inhibits your function. So it’s functional compromise, it’s an unrelenting pain.
Knees, hips and shoulders, they’re a lot alike. We’re replacing a normal bone and joint surface with a metal and plastic device. And we know that if we replace your joint, we keep you active, you live longer, and your life is more satisfying. It’s unequivocally true. Obviously, the easiest thing to rehabilitate from as a total shoulder. One of the reasons is we don’t walk on our shoulders. You need two hips to walk. You need two knees to walk. You only need one good shoulder to get by in life. And so shoulder arthroplasty or replacement is the easiest thing to recover from. Generally speaking, in six months you’re pretty much on autopilot. You got your life back and. And after six weeks, you’re really doing 90% of what you would normally do in life. Hips I’d say might be the biggest operation of the three, but it is one of the easier ones to recover from, far easier than the knee. And hip arthritis really limits you at a greater level than shoulders and knees do.
Knees are intermediate, as far as the magnitude of the operation between the hips and shoulder. By far, the hardest to get over. It’s by far the most frequent of the three major joints that we’ve replace, and there’s a lot of therapy related to the knees and it needs to be done, and you need to achieve the therapy goals at a particular time.
The orthopedic surgeons here have added training. We all have a notable amount of experience. Each of us that are here now have done thousands of joints. Having an artificial joint, if you have unrelenting pain that keeps you up at night and we replace it and we take away that pain, it literally gives you your life back.