Joint Replacement Surgery in Pakistan – A Rewarding Reconstructive Surgical Process

Replacement Surgery in Pakistan

In the Western world, the success rate of joint replacement surgery is very high because it is a discipline that has developed for more than 50 years. In Pakistan, for many years these surgeries were done only in larger cities. With time the healthcare landscape has evolved and things are looking up. Today the success ratio of joint replacement surgery in Pakistan is very encouraging. Hip and knee are the most common joint surgeries, but other joints such as ankles, elbows, shoulders, wrists, and fingers are also being successfully replaced in our part of the world. 

In the last decade there has been a remarkable increase in the number of joint replacement surgery in Pakistan because of the following reasons:

  • It is proving to be a safe and reliable treatment. 
  • The risks and complications associated with these surgeries have lowered considerably in recent years. The problems that may arise from joint replacements are now treatable. 
  • There have been improvements in materials, prosthetic designs, and surgical techniques.
  • Patients in this day and age opting for hip or knee replacement can expect it to last at least for two decades or more if not a lifetime. 

What is Joint Replacement Surgery?

The surgery involves replacing the damaged or diseased joints with new man-made parts. The part can be made of metal, plastic or ceramic device which is called a prosthesis. The prosthesis is supposed to function as a normal joint.  

Why is Joint Replacement Surgery done?

When the cartilage that lines the ends of the bones (articular cartilage) is damaged, it results in joint pain. It may be for any of the following reasons:

  • Joint injuries or fracture
  • Years of Use
  • Joint infections
  • Arthritis
  • Disease
  • Conditions such as Osteonecrosis (Avascular necrosis)

When to go for the surgery?

Joint replacement surgery may be needed if the joint is damaged or becomes dysfunctional. Patients opt for this surgery because it can help them move better and can reduce the pain they might be having with a damaged/diseased joint. It is recommended as a last line of treatment if other non-surgical options such as physical therapy and medications fail and there is an increasing decline of the joint or growing pain. If the pain interferes with normal daily activities, then it is time to see a doctor. The doctor will first take an x-ray to examine the joint and see if a replacement is a feasible option.

The Surgery

  • The doctor ensures that the patient is in good health to undergo anesthesia and rehabilitation activities related to the procedure.
  • After this assessment, he gives medicine to block pain. It depends if he wants to block the pain in one part of the body or the whole body.
  • Joint replacement surgery can take a few hours during which the damaged joint is replaced with the man-made joint.  
  • The surgery involves taking out the damaged cartilage and bone and replacing it with prosthetic components. Prosthetic parts can be made of metal, plastic, or ceramic which resembles a natural joint and also functions like one. It is attached to the bone with acrylic cement or can be press-fit, which allows the bone to grow into the implant. 
  • After the process, the patient is moved to the recovery room until the numbness goes away and the patient gains full consciousness. 

After Surgery

  • The duration of stay in the hospital is decided by the doctor. The hospital stay will also be determined by the fact as to which joint has been replaced. Knee and hip replacements are comparatively more complicated. If the patient has any additional problems then it may require a longer stay. A few days, possibly a day or two in hospital is however required in knee and hip surgeries.
  • You can expect to stand or walk on the day of the hip or knee replacement surgery, but obviously not independently. Initially, you can take the help of a walker or crutches. 
  • Temporary pain in the new joint will be felt which is expected because the muscles are weak from inactivity. As the body adjusts to the new joint and the tissues heal, the pain improves.  The pain can also be taken care of with medicines and should be gone within a few weeks or months.
  • The doctor may advise specific exercises or physical therapy which can be started as soon as the day after the surgery. The purpose of physical therapy is to strengthen the muscles around the new joint and to help restore movement. For shoulder joint surgery the exercise can start on the same day of the surgery. 
  • The rehabilitation process can take a year. This period and recovery is different for every person. Progress can be slow as well but make sure to visit the doctor regularly in the first 4 to 5 months and then less frequently over the year. Your doctor will advise you about the visits. Follow-up includes X-rays after the first, third, fifth, and seventh years. Following that, X-rays must be taken every 2 years to check that there is no wear on the new joint.

Complications of Joint Replacement Surgery 

  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Loosening of the joint
  • Fracture
  • Dislocation/Ball of the new joint comes out of its socket
  • Wear on joint replacements
  • Nerve and blood vessel injury

The outlook of Joint replacement surgery in Pakistan 

Joint replacement surgery in Pakistan is that of international standards. Those undergoing joint replacement surgeries are able to perform daily activities more easily than before, which improves the overall quality of their lives. More than 95% of total joint replacement procedures being carried out should last 15 to 20 years or more. Many patients are benefiting from these replacements, in relieving their pain, improving movement at the joints and upgrading the quality of life making joint replacement surgeries in Pakistan a rewarding reconstructive surgical procedure. 

If you have any such joint issue, do not hesitate to consult a doctor. This procedure is safe with positive results and many are benefiting from it. Make your life quality better now instead of living with the pain.