It should be the answer to pain and discomfort, and hip and knee replacement are becoming an increasingly common form of surgery.
But while tennis superstar Andy Murray was pictured giving a happy ‘thumbs up’ after his recent hip resurfacing treatment and, for many, joint replacement surgery goes well, for others it can be the start of a different, equally troublesome chapter.
Sometimes patients may be left with troubling infections or lingering pain from nerve damage, or they may need further surgery to correct and revise an operation that’s not gone quite as well as it could.
As time goes on and their replacement joint wears out, they are likely to face going under the knife for a second, or perhaps even third, time.
That’s likely to be a particular issue among the rising number of younger patients receiving hip and knee surgery: there was a 76 per cent jump in hip replacement operations on patients under the age of 60 between 2014 and 2015.
In the past, patients requiring hip replacement surgery tended to wait as long as possible – often until they reached 65 – before surgery, in the hope that they would only ever need one joint operation.
However, the move towards offering hip replacement surgery to younger patients, coupled with longer life expectancy, raises the prospect of them needing extra revision surgery to replace worn-out prosthetics.
In turn, that leads to concerns that people might have to endure surgery when they are significantly older and less able to cope with the rigours of an operation, while surgeons will have less remaining bone to work with.
Even though today’s prosthetics are outlasting older versions by up to ten years, there is still a significant chance that people will need at least one revision operation in their lifetime to help them remain mobile – and perhaps even two.
According to Sarah Johnson, head of medical negligence at Heptonstalls Solicitors, while joint replacement surgery should alleviate pain and restore mobility to patients, it can spark other problems.
“Revision surgery carries risks, primarily through the possibility of infection, but also with each revision that’s carried out there is less bone for the surgeons to work with.
“With knee replacement surgery, there is a risk that the component is fitted at the incorrect angle.
“That can lead to further pain and there’s also a risk that it puts a strain on other joints, such as the other knee and the spine due to an altered gait.”
She adds: “With any surgery, there is a risk of infection and we have seen the unfortunate scenario where infection occurred.
“Because it was not treated correctly and quickly enough, it has led to a below-knee amputation with life-changing consequences.”
She urged anyone who has encountered issues stemming from hip and knee replacement surgery to consult a specialist medical negligence solicitor for advice on bringing a case for compensation.
To speak to a medical negligence specialist, go to www.heptonstalls.co.uk/negligence or call 0800 917 8267.