At Sonoran Orthopaedics, our fellowship-trained doctors are experts in robotic-assisted orthopedic surgery for partial and total knee replacements. With thousands of surgeries under our belts, we understand that the primary concern for yourself or your loved one is getting back to your life as quickly as possible.
That’s why we recommend taking action quickly if you’re thinking about getting knee replacement surgery. If you wait too long, you risk additional complications and a more complex procedure—as well as more pain.
Unfortunately, many people wait too long to get knee replacement surgery. One study found that up to 90% of individuals in need of a knee replacement wait too long—often two or more years after the point at which they were considered a viable candidate for joint replacement.
There are many reasons why someone may want to wait for surgery:
- They’re nervous about the procedure
- They don’t want to go through a lengthy recovery process
- They’re concerned about reduced mobility during the recovery process
- They’re afraid they’ll end up worse than before the surgery
Most of these reservations are largely unfounded and can do more harm than good. The timing of your knee replacement is more important than you may realize. If you wait too long, you might be putting yourself at risk of additional health complications and decreased mobility.
Here are five reasons you shouldn’t wait to get knee replacement surgery.
1) Your condition could get worse as your joint deteriorates.
The leading cause of knee replacement is osteoarthritis. If you wait too long to have surgery, you put yourself at risk of experiencing an increasing deformity of the knee joint. As your condition worsens, your body may have to compensate by placing additional strain on other parts of the body (like your other knee). This could lead to stress or pain in the back, knee, or other parts of the body.
2) You may not get as much function and mobility back after surgery.
One of the best indicators of expected motion after surgery is your mobility before the knee replacement. If you wait until your knee pain renders you immobile, you reduce your chances of getting full mobility back after the joint replacement.
Additionally, chronic pain can affect other aspects of your life. If you have reduced mobility, you can’t exercise or maintain an active lifestyle. This could lead to health problems, weight gain, depression, or an overall reduced quality of life.
3) It will slow down your recovery process.
If your activity levels drop due to chronic pain or you find yourself wheelchair-bound as a result of osteoarthritis, the muscles in your legs may begin to deteriorate. Muscle mass already declines with age, so by further reducing your activity levels, you may experience compound effects that slow down your physical recovery. It could also make post-operative recovery procedures, like physical therapy, all the more challenging.
4) It could lead to complications during and after surgery.
Because dealing with chronic pain and reduced mobility can take a toll on your physical and emotional health, delaying your surgery could lead to additional complications during and after your knee replacement. If you experience weight gain, low endurance, or get diagnosed with a cardiac condition or similar ailment, you may require a more complex procedure and longer estimated recovery time.
Remember: as the joint deteriorates, the overall replacement process will become more complex as the surgeon must navigate increased joint deformity while operating on someone with suboptimal health. This means that your surgery may take longer and leads to a higher risk of postoperative concerns like blood clots, infections, or obstacles to recovery.
Additionally, most patients experiencing late- to end-stage osteoarthritis are older individuals. Old age is associated with an increased risk of surgical complications and slower recovery times.
5) You’ll experience more pain and/or find yourself increasingly unable to manage your pain.
This is a simple, but crucial, point. While many people may want to delay their surgery because it’s an unpleasant experience or they don’t want to undergo a lengthy recovery, these delays may ultimately lead to more complications down the line. It also means you’ll be dealing for chronic pain for longer, which will affect your quality of life. Don’t let your health and wellness go downhill by waiting too long to undergo a joint replacement surgery. Instead, be proactive and consult your doctor or orthopedic surgeon about your options and create a plan that will get you back on your feet.
Knee replacement is one of the most successful surgical procedures. It’s a proven method to alleviate pain and help improve mobility and relief from osteoarthritis. More than 700,000 knee replacement surgeries happen every year. We encourage you to monitor the state of your knee pain and talk to your doctor about whether or not you’re at a stage where you should be considering a joint replacement.
You’ll ultimately need to balance the benefits and risks of the procedure with how much pain you’re experiencing and your desire to restore mobility and functionality to the knee joint. Instead of delaying your surgery and risk surgical complications and increased pain, reach out to our team today to learn more about your options for knee replacement surgery. By using cutting-edge minimally invasive, computer guided techniques honed over thousands of trauma surgeries, we give our patients the best possible outcome so you can get up and moving quickly after surgery.
Here are some of the conditions we treat:
- Knee Replacement (including Robotic)
- Knee Revision Surgery
- Knee Ligament Injuries
- Meniscus and Cartilage Injuries
- Lower Extremity Fractures
- Emergency Trauma Fractures (advanced training to treat complex fractures of the calcaneus (heel), tibial plateau (knee), pilon (ankle) and compartment syndrome)
Learn more about our surgical techniques and our approach to helping you overcome chronic pain here.