Hip and knee replacement surgeries are among the most widely performed procedures in the world. The surgery itself is safe but comes with a potential for developing complications. As a result, surgeons usually try to identify patients more likely to develop these complications and work to lessen their risk of coming to harm as a result of the procedure. Doing so allows them to produce their desired patient outcomes – better functionality in the affected joint (which means fulfillment of patient expectations) as well as minimized risk. Below is a look at the various factors that surgeons use to assess the outcome of joint replacement surgery.
ASA classes are classifications of an individual's fitness level as developed by the American Society of Anesthesiologists. These divisions classify patients as being in one of six states, though the outcome of joint replacement surgery is measured only by the first four. Patients according to ASA classes 1, 2, 3 and 4 are either healthy, mildly systemic, severe systemic or systemic enough for the condition to be potentially fatal respectively. Patients with high ASA scores are more likely to develop complications after joint replacement surgery.
Patients with pre-existing conditions, particularly older patients, have a higher likelihood of developing difficulties after surgery than other people. Such patients are likely to stay in the hospital longer after the procedure and have lower functionality than their healthier counterparts who opt to stay home and utilize outpatient programs.
Obese people (those with a Body Mass Index of over 40) are less likely to recover functionality after undergoing joint replacement surgery. This result is because such individuals cannot easily undertake the movement exercises needed for recovery. They, therefore, have a higher likelihood of getting negative outcomes after surgery, particularly in patient-related reports.
Experiencing pain after surgery is normal. However, chronic pain is not. Typically, patients are prescribed medication with narcotic qualities to manage persistent pain. Patients with a tolerance for narcotics, for instance, those who were on arthritis drugs before joint replacement surgery, would find the post-surgical pain almost intolerable, and therefore suffer from adverse outcomes.
Surgeons should discuss these factors with their patients so that they can help manage their patient's expectations in the wake of the surgery. That way, they can achieve the desired outcomes for joint replacement surgery.