Sports and Age Related Joint Replacement Surgery

Dr. Cobb Alexander is a Board Certified knee and shoulder surgeon specializing in sports medicine.

As our body ages, some parts just naturally wear out faster than others. When the time comes to start thinking about replacing them, do your research because you want the best possible shoulder and knee surgery and most advanced replacements that may possibly last the rest of your life. Minimally Invasive knee replacement in conjunction with components of Oxinium is an orthopaedic success story, allowing hundreds of thousands of people to live fuller, more active lives.

“Patients benefit tremendously from the cutting edge technology for minimally invasive joint replacement,” explains Dr. Cobb Alexander of SportsMed Orthopaedic Surgery and Spine Center, ” Several years ago, total knee incisions were ten to twelve inches—now they are typically about half that in most patients. This enables my patients to get back on their feet quicker. Plus my active patients benefit from an Oxinium joint that wears less than standard joints meaning the implant should last longer.”

“Oxinium represents the first real advance in materials of total knee replacement in 20 years,” says Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Alexander. “This is the perfect solution for the younger patient, or even those who are somewhat older but still very physically active.” Oxinium has a ceramic-like surface that gives the material the significant advantage over its predecessor, cobalt chrome. Oxinium implants have remarkable strength over ceramic implants, which can fracture.

Traditional joint replacement surgery has been known as an extremely invasive procedure that typically halts a patient’s active life for months. Through less invasive techniques, coupled with advances in post-op pain management and physical therapy, patients are often able to leave the hospital sooner and return to their own home, rather than a rehab facility.

“There are obvious cosmetic advantages to a smaller incision,” says Dr. Alexander. “But as a surgeon, I like the fact that my patients are able to reclaim their physically active lives so much faster than expected. I believe this will eventually be the standard of care in orthopedic medicine, and it’s nice to be able to bring this advanced surgery to local patients now.”

The approach to rehabilitation in both hip and knee replacement surgery has changed dramatically in the past few years. Now we try hard to have the patients realize that they are not “sick” in the traditional sense, but rather had a defective or worn-out body part replaced. This attitude also allows shorter hospital stays with an increased emphasis on outpatient rehabilitation. Patients really seem to appreciate being able to return to their own homes after discharge from the hospital, rather than an extended stay in a nursing or rehab facility. Of course, a rehab stay may be appropriate for some patients, such as those who have no one living with them.

Typically, patients can resume driving after three weeks, and begin light recreational activities, such as golf, after four to six weeks. In general, most patients gain about 75% of their recovery in six to eight weeks post-op, with maximum improvement occurring over the next few months. While running is discouraged, many athletic activities, such as golf, tennis, cycling, weight-lifting, and even snow skiing are perfectly permissible.

“Patients are often surprised at how active they can be after joint replacement surgery,” says Dr. Alexander. “But the biggest benefit is being able to do daily activities without constant pain from a worn-out joint. In addition, many overweight patients with arthritis find it extremely difficult to exercise effectively with a painful knee or hip. Once these have been replaced, they are able to get more active and stay more active, helping them achieve their weight-loss goals.”

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