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Joint replacement: progressing to a safe, reliable procedure

October 08, 2021

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John Sauer, M.D., Specialist, Specialty Orthopedic Surgery
Legacy Medical Group – Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

As a longtime orthopedic surgeon, I’m often asked two questions: “Do I need a hip replacement?” And similarly: “Do I need a knee replacement?”

Often, when these questions are asked, the patient journey has passed a few significant check points. But, as a way of reminding people of how we at Legacy pursue a comprehensive, patient-centered approach to care, I always try to wind back to the beginning of things before providing an answer.

Hip or knee arthritis does not generally happen suddenly. Arthritis is a disease that progresses gradually over time. Initially, a joint might be stiff and painful but structurally intact. Then, over time, biological and structural changes in the joint result in cartilage and bone tissue loss. The cause of the arthritis is often multi-factorial and may include prior infections, genetic factors, growth or developmental abnormalities, metabolic anomalies, systemic inflammatory conditions, and prior bone or soft tissue injuries.

Treatment in these early stages can include medications, injections, and exercise. The arthritic process, however, can become so debilitating that patients eventually have a hard time walking short distances — they cannot run or enjoy the outdoors in ways they once did without care or thought. Joints can become painful at rest and make sleep difficult.

Joint replacement image

This is when a hip or knee replacement is needed. It’s a life changing moment. Although not without risk, the procedure is very common and safe for treating debilitating arthritis. Within a few days, a patient’s years-long pain vanishes. Eventually, walking, swimming, hiking, and riding a bike return as daily joys, free of pain. The patient is back to living their best life.

Besides hip and knee replacements, Legacy’s orthopedics and sports medicine team addresses many other orthopedic issues, including sports related injuries, hand conditions, shoulder injuries, and fracture care.  Collectively, our board-certified surgeons and experienced staff work collaboratively, with the single goal of caring for every kind of patient — weekend warriors, athletes of all ages and more — and returning them to a pain-free life.

We at Legacy Medical Group – Orthopedics and Sports Medicine take extraordinary pleasure in caring for patients and helping them live their very best lives.

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