I have had to date:
Left patella realignment
Left patella realignment - done over after destroying it 4 months later, working with no PT
7 'scopes on the left knee
1 'scope on the right knee
Left knee replaced '09
Right shoulder rebuilt '10
Right hip replaced '11
Right knee replaced 33 days ago
Planned for this year:
Left shoulder rebuild in 2-3 months
Left hip replacement in 6-8 months
I've been in Pain MGNT 3 different times, currently for the last 3 years.
Due to a blood disorder, I can no longer take any form of NSAID. Which is very bad news, as NSAIDs actually enable you to do more with less pain, rather than just masking pain.
The stronger the joint is pre-op, the better the rehab will be post-op. Lots of folks don't think about this, and many times the joint is so bad they can't do much to work on it anyhow prior to surgery. PT and rehab is as important if not more important than the surgery~! Following your Doctor's instructions is critical, as different joints need different healing times, have different risks, etc. Not listening, doing rehab your own way, failing to do the PT **WELL**, is a recipe for turning yourself into a cripple. I know, because as a dumb kid, I destroyed my left knee by working (and falling) without ever doing any PT.
Typically, knee replacements can be worked as hard as possible from day one, limited only by swelling. Getting your RoM (Range of Motion) back is critical in this joint, and will determine the success or failure of the replacement. Only about 60% of people end up 100% pain-free. Most of the rest do fine with a low-grade daily NSAID. About 10% end up with chronic pain requiring pain meds - the Docs do not know why (in my case, too much prior muscle damage). The key to a successful knee replacement is hard PT/rehab work, getting the RoM back, and rebuilding knee strength, it is ALL up to the patient~!
Typically, hip replacements are pretty easy. Both in recovery of RoM on your own, walking, and PT/rehab - though it *IS* needed! The two biggest risks after a hip replacement is a fall (prior to RoM coming back 100%), or a dislocation - your Doc will give exact instructions about what movements you are NOT to do, and for how long~! Some 90% of hip replacements end up pain-free. The remaining 10% may have random weather issues, etc - and again, a low-end NSAID taken as needed usually will resolve any issues. Unlike a knee replacement, people are required to take it easy after a hip replacement, XX weeks of not much, XX weeks of PT, XX weeks of motion limitation - it's more of a time issue than a work hard and beat yourself up issue like with knee replacements. The key to a successful hip replacement is simply doing as your Doc tells you to, and mild PT rehab work when scheduled.
There is no 'typical' shoulder repairs. Everyone is different, you may have cuff tears, bone spurs, ligament damage, etc... The patient should expect and plan for roughly a full year to recover completely. Depending on what gets done will determine if you end up pain-free or not. I had two bone spurs, 2 cuff tears, one ligament almost torn in half. I was considered slightly worse than an average repair. I am about 98% pain-free, and it took 10+ months (with pain) to fully recover. Patient following Doctor instructions on use, motion, etc is critical - some 30% will re-damage the shoulder in the first four months. My arm was strapped to my side for eight weeks after surgery. PT/rehab is important, but done at a very slow and gentle pace. it is very easy to re-damage the repairs made, so time is a big deal.
In my book, the shoulder was my worst, and my hip was my easiest joint worked on. Free advice? Be very paranoid about falling~! Use a walker with wheels even after you can walk normally! I would not plan to get out of bed for bio breaks at night for at least two weeks (simply due to risk of a fall while sleepy). If you Doc wants a pillow between your legs and it bugs you - get over it I would try to make sure you have plenty of available places to sit in every room - remember the Doc will mandate a MAX degree of bend for XX time - learn it, live it, don't fake it - if you need higher chairs, get em!
Oh - fugly scar! And if you are at all chunky (or fat like me) it'll be way worse looking than a knee ever will be. Herb, if you have a multi-floor home, you may strongly wish to consider living on one floor for a few weeks. Paranoia...one little oops is all it takes to require a do-over.
If anyone wants more info, whatever - am happy to tell all I have learned over the years - PM, email, phone - am happy to help.
Lastly, consider the hip good practice for the upcoming knee(s)...
"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you. Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your Soul, the other for your Freedom."