When it comes to surgical procedures, no one looks forward to them. The anticipation of pain, discomfort, and downtime just don’t appeal to many. Many of us find reasons to delay surgery if at all possible. Americans undergo almost 600,000 knee replacement surgeries every year, and almost 90 percent of us delay treatment longer than we should because of the anticipated pain and inconvenience. In order to proactively manage our health, though, we must be willing to correct degenerative issues.
As we age, we experience natural degeneration of joints like shoulders, knees, and hips. Hearing from the doctor that you need surgery is not good news, but it is also not something that you should put off indefinitely. There are risks and complications that can arise from putting off a needed knee replacement; here is why you should not put off this procedure:
1. Your condition may worsen
An arthritic or degenerative condition will rarely improve on its own. As your condition worsens, it can affect the structural integrity of your joint. The longer you wait, the more likely it will be that more specialized surgical procedures are needed to correct your condition. Healing can also take longer; it is best to schedule a surgery to proactively manage your health.
2. You will become less mobile
A knee that doesn’t work correctly is likely to cause you more stiffness and pain. The more you move about with a joint that doesn’t work well, you will undoubtedly experience pain and stiffness that increase over time. You may not be looking forward to post surgical pain and discomfort, but the damage that you could be doing to your knee in its uncorrected state might be worse in the long run.
3. Your overall health may worsen
If your knee tissue is swollen, irritated, or infected, this compromised tissue can affect the health of your whole body. Diseased tissue can cause the buildup of toxins in your blood, leading to a condition known as sepsis. If toxic levels in your blood become too much for your kidneys to filter, sepsis can become a life threatening condition. Being willing to undergo surgery in order to remove the source of infection will safeguard your health in the long run.
4. There is never a “perfect time” or “perfect technology”
You might want to wait for a ground breaking technology to make the process easier, or a miracle drug that can take all post operative pain away, but the reality is that there is never a “perfect time” to undergo surgery. Life plans will always get in the way, technology is always being improved, and drug research continues to evolve. The time for you to get healthier and allow this procedure to take place is now.
5. Your doctor doesn’t suggest surgical procedures unless you really need it
In general, your medical practitioner is not allowed to suggest surgical procedures unless they are needed. If your doctor feels that your condition has regressed to the point where conservative treatment is no longer working, you will need to plan for surgery. Talk about a timeline for surgery and recovery, and plan for what’s ahead so that you can improve your quality of life after your procedure.
6. Your muscles could start to weaken
As the integrity of your bones and joints continues to deteriorate, it can also start to affect the strength and composition of your muscle tissue as well. Torn muscles and stretched ligaments can contribute to ongoing pain, which can cause you to avoid use before and after surgery. Weakened muscles will make your healing process longer after surgery as well; it is best to get your procedure done so you can take advantage of your current state of health.
7. Pre-surgical time can be an emotional roller coaster
While you might be looking forward to your improved state of health after surgery, the time spent beforehand stressing out about pain, complications, and family issues adds stress to your life that you just don’t need. Believe it or not, knee replacement surgery is one of the most understood, easily performed procedures in the medical industry; surgeons and physical therapists alike know what to do to get you back on both feet again. Make your health and wellness a priority, and you’ll be wondering why you didn’t schedule it sooner.
When is the right time to schedule my procedure?
Given the fact that almost 90 percent of people headed for knee surgery put it off for too long, the right time to schedule your procedure is at your earliest convenience. You will have to make preparations at work, at home, and with loved ones who will be affected by your down time, but the reality is that the other side of your recovery will be more active, pain free, and happier. What are you waiting for? Call your doctor, schedule your surgery, and look forward to better health on the other side!