Thursday, January 16, 2014

Do-overs not good when it comes to surgery

My sister and I have one fundamental tenet of medical care--once you cut something, it is never the same. Tissue is gooey, frangible--a second surgery in the same area adds to scar tissue, misplacement of structures, and so on.

Of course, "never the same" CAN mean less painful, more functional--but it doesn't always.
Take joint replacement. A doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NY says he is seeing a sharp upturn in people coming in for revision surgery of knees or hips.

Implants can "loosen." Some artificial joints can break--from a fall, say. They can dislocate. In some awful cases, they can develop a long-term infection. Or the device can be recalled.

Joint revision surgery is much more complicated than the original.

Patients with a "bionic" part should avoid overusing the joint. This means maybe not run or play tennis.

Avoid "jumping" sports--trampoline, basketball.

Maintain a healthy weight.

And--always--find a doctor who does a lot of the procedure you want done.

If you get a bacterial infection elsewhere, ask your doctor about it getting into the joint.

Sudden pain the joint? Sudden trouble getting up or around? Call the doc!

I admit to being a baby--but 4 surgeries on my detached retina resulting in a blind right eye has not resulted in my wanting knee replacement. Sure, they say it's great. But people say a lot.

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