A growing number of individuals are undergoing knee replacement to treat osteoarthritis, also known as a ‘wear and tear’ of the joints, to reduce pain and increase mobility. In the U.S., more than 760,000 knee replacements are performed every year.¹
Many people who have had knee replacement can get back to the life they loved, being able to take walks with family and friends, travel, volunteer, climb stairs and sleep with less pain.
Yet, even after conservative options like pain medicine or knee injections no longer provide relief, many with severe joint pain delay knee replacement surgery. They may have concerns about how painful the procedure will be, and whether mobility will be regained. Or they may have heard stories about painful and difficult recovery after surgery.
Knee replacement is not a quick fix, but a journey with several steps. Emotional support is important to help people through each step of their journey. And honest conversations with your surgeon can help set realistic goals.
The decision to seek surgery – support from loved ones or colleagues can help
Having conversations with your friends and loved ones about knee pain can be very helpful.
Shannon Johnston from Southern California, like many others, suffered through countless years with knee pain – “knee pain has been part of my life for probably, eight to nine years. I tried a lot of different things and nothing seemed to work.”
According to a recent survey of more than 500 U.S. women ages 45-65 – including those who have had joint replacement surgery and those planning to have joint replacement surgery, 58% of respondents who had yet to have joint replacement surgery experienced pain for more than five years and an average of six days a week.
Emotional support can come in a variety of ways. With her pain mounting, Shannon knew it was time to talk to a surgeon when her daughter started high school – “I played softball growing up all my life and during my daughter’s freshman year I couldn’t help her. I couldn’t teach her how to play.”
Shannon was fortunate to have a strong support system – “My family was very supportive. It was difficult because I couldn’t do as much. Even standing up to do dishes, make dinner, just the everyday chores was just not there. My friends, they understood, but I couldn’t go out with them anymore because of the quality of life that I had with my knees being as bad as they were.”
An open dialogue with your surgeon can help set attainable goals
Today, some patients with osteoarthritis and knee pain are younger and more active. And they have heard about successful knee replacements, so they have more ambitious goals for recovery.²
Orthopaedic surgeons from across the country continue to stress the importance of having candid conversations with patients and their loved ones about surgery and recovery.
Dr. Thomas King, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has seen changes in his own practice – “the expectations are entirely different now from what they were previously. People come in at a much earlier stage with their arthritis than they had previously.”
“So, these patients want a lot more out of life, expect a lot more for themselves. They are not willing to sit in a chair and give up activities that they enjoy.”
According to Dr. Anna Kulidjian, San Diego, California, surgery can be a sensitive topic to some, “I think expectations are a very, very personal thing. I think you have to set them based on the patient, and the patient populations you’re dealing with.”
Easier to set expectations with the ATTUNE® Knee System
With a knee system such as the ATTUNE® Knee System, surgeons find they can more effectively set expectations with their patients.
Dr. Robin Goytia, Houston, Texas, says that the ATTUNE Knee, “ has helped us meet the high expectations of patients, how patients are very happy with their knees and are able to meet some of their goals sooner than with a typical system. Patients seem to recover quicker, seem to be happier with the new system.”
“The ATTUNE System has drastically changed my overall expectations with my patients, because I know the standardized result we are looking for. I know we are trying to achieve motion very early,” says Dr. Jeffrey Jaglowski, Houston, Texas.
Dr. Sarkis Bedikian, Chicago, Illinois, is now more confident – “I can tell my patients they’re going to achieve less pain, their range of motion, and improve their function a lot quicker than I could before. I think it’s very important that patients want to go back to their lifestyles, whatever that may be, whether it’s work or sport. And they can do that better now.”
Conversations about recovery and rehab
Outlining the amount of work that a patient needs to do after surgery is important for a successful recovery.
Dr. Andrew Spitzer, Los Angeles, California, says that, “I’ve had to sort of sit down with some patients to say, listen, this is a big operation. There’s recovery. There’s downtime. And then there’s significant effort in rehabilitation in order to maximize the result.”
The ATTUNE Knee gives surgeons the confidence to ask more of their patients during the recovery process.
“I know we are going to have a stable knee, so I am very aggressive with my physical therapy, and I like to educate my patients quite extensively on exactly what to expect and what my goals are,” says Dr. Jeffrey Jaglowski, Houston, Texas.
Support from a loved one is vitally important during recovery and rehab.
Realizing the benefits of hard work during rehab is important, “Physical therapy – if you don’t do it, it’s not going to work,” urges Shannon.
“The support of my family was awesome – they never thought I would be able to walk again,” Shannon recalls and “I honestly didn’t think I would either – I’m very happy.”
“Recovery was a little slow at first, but my employees that I work with couldn’t believe how I progressed – they called me speedy because they couldn’t believe how fast I could actually walk, and I could stand up and walk around. And the pain was gone.”
It’s important to remember that the performance of knee replacements depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have these surgeries. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can determine if knee replacement is necessary based on an individual patient’s condition.
For more information and to hear more stories from people who have received the ATTUNE Knee, visit www.ATTUNEKnee.com.
About the Survey
DePuy Synthes commissioned the survey which was conducted online by Edelman Intelligence between June 4 – 15, 2018 in the United States among 253 women 45-65 years old who had knee and/or hip replacement surgery in the last five years and 271 women 45-65 years old who are planning to have knee and/or hip replacement surgery in the next two years.
© DePuy Synthes 2018. All rights reserved.
- 2017 GlobalData.
- Changing Demographics in Primary and Revision Total Joint Arthroplasty, 2000-2014. http://aaos2018.conferencespot.org/66451aaos-1.4066572/3-1.4073923/t002-1.4073930/a024-1.4075819/p0016-1.4076000 downloaded November 21, 2018.