Countdown to Joint Preservation Surgery: How to Prepare for the Procedure & Rehab

If you’re suffering from joint pain, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, more than 54 million Americans experience some form of joint pain caused by arthritis, with osteoarthritis being the most common form. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage of the joint wears down, and the protective fluid and cartilage lose their shock-absorbing abilities, often resulting in bones rubbing against each other.

When standard osteoarthritis treatments including anti-inflammatory medications and an exercise and weight loss program fail to relieve pain, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend a surgical procedure as the next step in repairing a badly damaged joint. 

More and more patients want to return to normal activity levels post-operatively, but often patients continue to experience pain and discomfort following traditional shoulder, knee and toe surgery. For example, research suggests that up to one-third of those who undergo traditional total knee and total shoulder replacements continue to experience chronic pain and reduced mobility, while 1 in 5 are dissatisfied with the results. Now, there are other options available, such as joint preservation implant systems. 

Joint preservation surgery and implants provide a minimally invasive alternative with quick recovery times, increased range of motion, reduced hospital stays and little to no activity restrictions. During this type of procedure, bone is preserved while the joint surface (damaged area) is replaced to restore native anatomy. These anatomic implants are available for the shoulder, knee, wrist, and toe. In addition to the benefits listed above, joint preservation also offers shorter operative time, a lower risk of periprosthetic fracture and bone and motion preservation.

These days aging, active populations are favoring joint preservation over traditional total joint replacement, especially as fitness and an active way of life have become more of a priority. As you prepare for your surgery, here are some tips to keep in mind as you get ready for your procedure and rehab:

  • Do research. Take the time to find the procedure that’s right for you. Unlike a traditional total joint replacement, our Joint Preservation Systems remove significantly less bone, restore the native anatomy of the joint, and can allow you to resume full activity and live an independent lifestyle. To identify a doctor who can help determine the right joint preservation procedure for you, use our Find A Doctor tool.
  • Plan ahead. The research doesn’t end after you select a doctor and a procedure. Patients should plan for a thorough rehab. Though recovery times are typically shorter, you will need to rest your body for a couple of weeks following joint preservation to allow it to heal. Think about how this will affect your life and consider pushing off any scheduled events or activities to a later date. Ask questions and get specific information from your doctor about the procedure and rehab ahead of time.
  • Stay active. Exercise and getting into better shape prior to surgery can shorten your recovery time. Ask your doctor which exercises you should do ahead of surgery and learn which physical therapy exercises you’ll need for rehab.
  • Eat a healthy diet. If you’re overweight, consider starting a weight loss program. Improving your diet is not only good for your overall health; but dropping weight can also lighten the stress on joints like your knees. Don’t consume any alcohol for at least 48 hours before surgery.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking not only slows down your recovery, but it can also increase the risk of infection. If you’re a smoker, consider quitting altogether or at least cutting down ahead of surgery. There are many programs available to assist in quitting smoking. Ask your primary physician for referrals.
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