Category: OrthoBlog

What to Expect After Joint Replacement

You and your care team have decided that the pain you’re experiencing would be best treated with a total joint replacement (also called arthroplasty). While the OR is the most invasive part of the journey, your recovery is key to the overall success of your surgery. While you might be familiar with what to expect on the day of surgery, what will life in the first weeks after joint replacement look like?

By having a joint replacement with the highly skilled, comprehensive team at The Orthopaedic Center, you’ll be empowered at every step of the way. You’ll be prepared for what to expect post-operatively and well-informed on the ins and outs of recovery to get back to living with minimal pain.

The Right Care Team

The surgeon you select is the captain of your joint replacement team. At The Orthopaedic Center, our board-certified surgeons specialize in the latest, state of the art technology. including minimally invasive, computer-navigated total hip replacements from the anterior approach.

Technology such as robot-assisted surgery with the Velys platform is also utilized, allowing your surgeon to make a surgical plan tailored to you, which may improve the precision of the surgery. It’s important to note that robotic surgery is not performed solely by robots. Rather, the surgeon guides the robotic arm through the procedure.

As North Alabama’s leader in robotic surgery, the surgeons at The Orthopaedic Center continually train to garner all that technology offers for a safe, effective, and smooth surgical process.

What to Expect Post-Op

Recovery after joint replacement is as unique as the person who underwent surgery, considering your age, the severity of the condition you’re seeking to remedy, other medical conditions you have, and your ability and willingness to adhere to your postoperative treatment plan. While this information is a general guide, be sure to talk to your care team about what to expect in your specific situation.

Your postoperative treatment plan will be multifaceted, including follow-up visits with your surgeon and physical therapy (PT) as prescribed. Depending on which joint you had replaced, PT may begin hours after your surgery. At The Orthopaedic Center, this process is streamlined and under one figurative roof with multiple locations for ease of access, so all you have to focus on is healing—not the logistics of traveling and coordinating between different practices.

The First 2 Weeks

Depending on specific details from your surgery, many patients can go home the day of surgery or may potentially stay in the hospital for postoperative observation for one day.

For the first two weeks, you’ll be primarily focused on mobilizing more and more. It is important to understand that pain is a normal part of the recovery process. You may also feel extremely tired as your body recovers or feel stiff after you’ve sat still for a while – both are common.

You may also notice bruising, swelling, or numbness around the surgical site. While these changes are often expected after surgery, they may also be a sign of a complication, particularly if in combination with shortness of breath, chest pain, or a high fever (over 101⁰F). If you think you may be experiencing a complication, please call your surgeon right away.

Week 3 to Month 3

Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication in the postoperative interval. However, you and your surgeon should work together to create a plan that uses as little pain medication as possible while still keeping you relatively comfortable. Pain medications are often associated with adverse outcomes that should be avoided.

If you had your knee replaced, safely regaining your range of motion and walking without assistance are top goals. Patients often hear a clicking sound when moving, possibly due to the metal or plastic implants that were inserted. But this noise should be less noticeable over time.

After a hip replacement, be sure to follow your surgeon’s directions to lower the chance of dislocation – especially within the first three months. Any postoperative limp you experience should go away with time and exercise.

What Next?

While full recovery after a joint replacement is truly 1 or even 2 years, many patients feel better than prior to surgery much quicker. In as little as two or three months many patients are able to return to work, are able to drive, and can engage in light physical activity.

Over 1 million people per year have a joint replacement. But at The Orthopaedic Center, we’re focused on your joint replacement – it’s one in a million to us. Our multidisciplinary team is here to compassionately care and work alongside you, from pre-operative consultations to post-operative physical therapy and beyond.

Are you ready to focus on a better you? Request an appointment with our committed care team by clicking here today.

Runner’s Knee 101

Feet pounding the pavement. A glisten of hard-earned sweat between your brows. The burst of adrenaline that hits as a cool breeze blows. The joy of running surpasses seemingly anything that could stand in its way – from age to background, geographical location, or socioeconomic status – except when it comes to pain. Continue reading “Runner’s Knee 101”

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Your hands are working in essentially all the moments of your day, from waving to neighbors to shaking on a new business deal, typing up the next great American novel to tickling your kids or grandkids. These movements – from routine to monumental – become anything but easy if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Continue reading “Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options”

The Orthopaedic Center: Your Family’s Home for Outstanding Care

Since 1999, The Orthopaedic Center has been one of the region’s most trusted orthopaedic service providers, delivering compassionate and highly competent care for any problem with your bones and their surrounding joints and muscles. We are a full-range orthopaedic practice that has you and your family covered – from head to toe.

Care for Everyone, Every Time

Our team of 37 physicians at The Orthopaedic Center is proud to treat patients of all ages and stages – from infants to those of advanced age. With 11 sub-specialties, our exceptionally trained physicians will develop an individualized care plan to get you back to living the life you love. Our Hand and Upper Extremity Center and Foot and Ankle Center will have you back waving to your neighbors and chasing after your kids and grandkids before you know it. For all the areas in between, we have dedicated Centers for the Shoulder, Knee, and Spine, fully staffed with board-certified surgeons and support personnel to get you on the express lane to wellness. Should a joint replacement be in your best interest, our Joint Replacement Center has been ranked by US News and World Report as a High Performing Hospital for Hip and Knee Replacement.

Generalized orthopaedic care is also available to treat a host of conditions including arthritis, osteoporosis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Our board-certified physiatrists in our Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department are well-respected for non-surgical treatment of musculoskeletal ailments, from amputation to fibromyalgia.

No one is too small to become part of our medical family. Our pediatric specialists will lovingly care for your little one, whether you are being seen for issues ranging from cerebral palsy to needing stabilization from a growth plate fracture. And perhaps the best part, as your kiddo continues to grow, there is a provider to grow with you – so there’s no need to move practices.

For more urgent needs, we offer a Trauma Center as well as Sports Medicine services. Our Level 1 Trauma Center is the only one of its kind in North Alabama – with a trauma surgeon available day and night. We are also the largest provider of sports medicine services in the area. You’ll see us around town advocating for all walks of active lifestyles – whether it be on the sidelines of a Huntsville Havoc game or at a Friday Night Post-Game Injury Clinic.

You’re a Name, Not a Number

Our physicians and support staff are nationally acclaimed. But here at The Orthopaedic Center, we believe that distinction is only a portion of what contributes to a thriving doctor-patient relationship. At The Orthopaedic Center, you are more than a patient – you’re part of the family. Our physicians are honored to rally alongside you in your orthopaedic journey, no matter what situation you are experiencing. And our providers can collaborate with those outside of our scope of care (speaking with your nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and athletic trainers) to create a streamlined plan tailored to your personal goals with the mission of you receiving the best care possible.

Meeting You Where You Are

The Orthopaedic Center is proud to call North Alabama home. With over 13 locations in the Tennessee Valley, we have an intentional space to meet you right where you are, both literally and figuratively. We have even launched orthopaedic and therapy services in Decatur so our Morgan County patients can spend less of their day in the car to meet with their medical team.

Wherever we go, our patients come first – and we’re always looking for new ways to make orthopaedic care accessible to all. In July 2023, The Orthopaedic Center merged with Huntsville Hospital, meaning that the area’s two top medical providers are now working together to treat their most important patient – you.

The Orthopaedic Center: Cutting Edge and Close to Home

We are dedicated to staying up-to-speed with the newest advancements in orthopaedic medicine to bring you modern medicine’s best without having to travel far from home. Come see how it feels to be treated by a world-class team at state-of-the-art facilities where you’re cared for as a whole person, not just a patient. It’s next-level medical treatment with a personal touch. It’s The Orthopaedic Center.

To book an appointment at The Orthopaedic Center, click here.