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Joint replacement procedures

Hi, I'm Dr. Kevin Klean, Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon at Crossing Rivers Health. I provide all aspects of orthopedic care and am fellowship-trained in orthopedic sports medicine. I perform services such as total joint replacements; minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder, hip, and knee; complex knee surgery; cartilage procedures; and athletic injuries affecting patients ranging from the weekend warrior to the elite athlete.

When working with patients, my goal is to help them understand their condition and treatment, so we can work together to make informed decisions based on their lifestyle and personal goals. I want to make sure my patients are actively involved in their care. I deeply care about my patients and will do everything I can to improve their quality of life.

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Joint replacement frequently asked questions

A total joint replacement procedure is a big surgery. Below are some common questions that I have received from patients.

Q: When is the right time for a knee replacement?

A: I am never going to tell you when the right time is for you to have surgery; you are going to tell me. When your quality of life is significantly affected, when you can’t do things you enjoy doing, and we can no longer adequately control your pain and symptoms - that is usually the right time. I’ll provide you with all the information regarding your condition. We’ll go over the x-rays and imaging studies together and talk about your goals and lifestyle. We will discuss the best option moving forward and make that decision collectively as a team. It’s about what is best for you and how we can get you back to what you enjoy doing.

Q: How will my pain be managed during and after the procedure?

A: With joint replacements, we administer medications before surgery to help decrease pain and inflammation after surgery. After surgery, we very judiciously use pain medications, while ensuring that we’re controlling the pain adequately. We all work together - our anesthesiologists, our nurses, and myself - to make sure that your pain is well-controlled.

Q: What type of therapy will be involved?

A: To assist in the recovery process, I often recommend physical therapy both before and after surgery. When patients begin experiencing a high level of pain and start to have trouble walking, their body favors or compensates for that area of pain, which leads to stress on other areas of the body and creates weakness around the joint. The stronger we make those muscles before surgery, the more quickly the rehab and recovery will be.

After joint replacement surgery, the goal is to be walking the same day of surgery. Throughout your stay at the hospital, we’ll get you up and moving, working with a physical therapist to get you on the course of postoperative recovery. Once you are ready, you’ll begin outpatient therapy for about two to three months to make sure that we are appropriately rehabbing that joint so that you can get back to those activities that you enjoy.

Q: What can I expect during the recovery process?

A: Typically after a knee replacement, it will be eight to ten weeks before you will be able to return to most normal activity, such as a full day at work. Depending on the demands of your job, returning to work may be possible after four to six weeks. Everyone heals differently, so it's difficult to set a specific timeframe. Each patient experience is reviewed individually to ensure we are recommending the correct action for each individual.

We would ask that you refrain from driving for the first four to six weeks after surgery because surgery decreases your reaction time based on orthopedic literature.

After your procedure, I'll see you while you are in the hospital, at the two-week post-operative mark, at the six-week post-operative mark, and then again at the three-month post-operative mark. At each appointment, we will make sure that you're progressing with therapy, discuss any concerns with pain, and talk about normal activities of daily living.

Q: What do you often hear from patients after they have a joint replacement?

A: After a joint replacement procedure, most of my patients have wished that they would have had the procedure earlier. A total joint replacement is a big procedure and many people have concerns. It's reassuring to know that by having a total joint replacement, we have taken care of the problem and removed the cause of the pain they were experiencing.

Video: Follow Jeff's hip replacement story

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