Dr. Bradley Walter with TOC Thomasville recently appeared on The Greg Tish during the TOC Minute segment on RealTalk 93.3 to discuss modern joint replacement surgery.
Dr. Walter discussed the advancements in technology related to joint surgery noting that the industry has gone from telling patients that a new joint will last 10 years to working with life-time joints.
Dr. Walter said that knee replacement is the most common surgery followed by hip replacement. He said that some hip replacement surgeries are done as outpatient surgery.
“If your healthy enough you can have your hip replaced and gone home the same day,” said Walter.
He also said that technology has aided in recovery from hip fractures, which years ago could result in fatalities due to older patients struggling with the after-effects of surgery.
Walter stated that “we have made progress with hip fractures because the surgery is less evasive and this helps with the recovery.” He added that recovery is not just about the physical aspect, there is also the mental aspect. If patients give up mentally the body can shut down. A less evasive surgery helps with mental aspect of the recovery.
When should people who have joint discomfort seek guidance?
Walter said that the holy grail is joint preservation. Just because you have knee pain does not mean you are ready for a replacement. There are a number of options to mitigate pain such as steroids injections, anti-inflamatory medication, and viscosupplementation – which Walter described as a “new grease for an old engine.”
Viscosupplementation is a procedure in which a thick fluid called hyaluronate is injected into the knee joint.
Walter also said that the number one modifiable risk factor for hip, knee and back issues is weight. “Every pound of weight you carry is like 5 pounds of force on your joint…If I had a magic wand for weight loss I would be a billionaire many times over,” said Walter.
On surgery, Walter said that no one really wants to rush into these procedures. There are risk factors so we want to be very thoughtful about how we choose treatments.
When your knee payment is affecting your daily activities and you can’t do the things you want to do – like the grandparent that can’t go to a kids ball game because walking in the stands is too painful , then surgery is a viable option. The technology has gotten to the point to where the surgery is something that should not be feared.
However, Walter said that if you can take a Motrin or a Tylenol and get around without thinking about your pain, I would address your weight and other factors before I chose surgery.
Dr. Walter is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a special interest in total joint replacement, shoulder and knee arthroscopy, and sports medicine. He has special training in minimally invasive direct anterior hip replacement surgery and is South Georgia and North Florida’s most experienced surgeon using this technique. Dr. Walter attended the University of Michigan Medical School.
Dr. Walter’s office is in Thomasville, Georgia, and he sees patients from surrounding areas such as Cairo, Albany, Valdosta, Moultrie, and Tallahassee.
TOC – Experts in Orthopedic Care serving North Florida and South Georgia with eight locations. TeamTOC.com.