It can be easy sometimes to associate our bodies with cars. As both gain more mileage, it just seems more likely that something can go wrong. Our acceleration decreases, we start hearing strange noises where we never had before, and some parts just start wearing down. So when our joints wear down through osteoarthritis, we can replace them just like we do parts on a car, right? Well, yes and no.
Joint replacement surgery does indeed swap out your damaged joint for a new one. However, whereas a replacement part on a car is still made of the same materials, a replacement for a human joint is made of metal and plastic instead. In most cases, this is perfectly fine. It’s still not a complete guarantee that no future problems will ever arise, though. A synthetic joint can also wear down or become loose, meaning it has to be replaced again. Each time it has to be replaced, the procedure is often more difficult and less successful overall.
That’s the consequence which must always be considered with surgery: while it can have a great net benefit for the patient, it can never fully return the body to its original (you could say “factory new”) condition. Every surgery is an important choice, and if more conservative methods can provide the desired effects, such as pain management and mobility, it’s better to go with those first. It is only when those treatments can’t or don’t help that surgery becomes an option.
If osteoarthritis is causing you pain in your feet or ankles, don’t think joint surgery is your only choice. Dr. Sanjay Patel and the staff of Family Foot Care & Surgery can discuss a full range of treatments that can fit your lifestyle and needs. Get a hold of us by filling out our online form or calling either of our offices: (203) 876-7736 for Milford or (203) 288-4055 for Hamden, CT.