Joint pain alone is not a sufficient enough reason for having a joint replacement. Prolonged pain (more than 6 months) that does not improve with conservative non-surgical means, and affects your normal movement and day-to-day life, would qualify you for a joint replacement. This is a personal decision made by consulting your primary care physician and orthopedic surgeon.
There are general risks with any type of surgery. They include, but are not limited to, the possibility of blood clots in the legs (DVTs); blood clots in the lungs (PEs); blood clots in the tissues around the incision (hematoma); uncontrollable bleeding; wound infection; heart attack or stroke. In rare instances, death may occur during or after any surgical procedure. The chance of that happening, however, particularly to a healthy patient is very rare.
Knee replacement surgeries usually don't result in much blood loss and rarely require a transfusion. Hip replacement surgeries usually involve some blood loss and will often require a transfusion. Taking iron tablets prior to surgery may lower the chances of needing a blood transfusion after surgery.
No. Exercising is strongly encouraged following surgery. You should get about 30 minutes of low-impact aerobic exercise at least three times a week. Walking, biking and swimming are all examples of appropriate exercise for a joint replacement patient.
Recovery following a joint replacement is a continual process that involves gradual progress. However, a full recovery is normally achieved between 8 and 12 months. Very few patients will need walking assistance after they fully recover. Many people can return to work between three and eight weeks depending on strength, stamina and pain reduction.