Joint Replacement Program at
Vermont Orthopaedic Clinic
More people are choosing to have joint replacement surgery at increasingly younger ages. If you are suffering from extensive damage, deterioration or pain in one of your joints that does not improve after other treatments, joint replacement may be an option for you.
About Our Program
As the state’s leader in joint replacement surgery, Vermont Orthopaedic Clinic offers a full range of coordinated, multidisciplinary joint care.
Our joint replacement program is led by our renowned surgeons and includes fellowship-trained physicians, specialized postsurgical therapists and dedicated nurse navigators who will guide you from preoperative planning through recovery and rehabilitation.
Reasons to Consider a Joint Replacement
You may want to consider a joint replacement if you can answer “yes” to one or more of the following:
- Pain and stiffness. Have you been in pain for six months or more? Does it hurt so much that it's hard to walk, climb stairs, get up from a chair or do other activities?
- Affected daily life. It's not just the pain itself that matters, but the impact it has on your regular routine. Do your joint problems limit what you can do? Does it cause you to avoid activities you enjoy?
- Bone damage. Do X-rays and other imaging tests show that your osteoarthritis or other bone conditions are taking a toll on your joints?
- Other treatments don't help. Have you tried other treatments such as medication and injections, but they aren't giving you the relief you need?
Whether your joint problem is caused by an injury or a chronic condition such as arthritis, our skilled specialists will conduct a complete assessment to determine whether you are a good candidate for a joint replacement procedure. We will consider a number of factors before recommending joint replacement, including:
- Nonsurgical treatments you have tried
- Whether your problem is the result of an injury or a chronic condition such as arthritis
- Injuries and trauma to the joint
- Amount of pain or difficulty you are having when performing daily or recreational activities
- Your age and activity level
Our board-certified orthopaedic surgeons perform hundreds of joint replacement procedures each year. We use the most advanced minimally invasive and arthroscopic surgical techniques to reduce scarring, minimize pain and decrease your recovery time.
Whether you need a total or partial joint replacement, we use high-grade metal and plastic parts and adjust the surrounding muscles and ligaments to help restore maximum mobility to return you to a pain-free, active life. Our skilled surgeons perform a range of procedures, including:
- Total knee replacement. Your surgeon will remove your damaged knee joint (or the damaged portions of your knee joint) and replace it with an artificial joint that is attached to your thighbone, shin and kneecap.
- Partial knee replacement. Your surgeon may determine that you only need a partial knee replacement, which is surgery to replace only one part of a damaged knee. It can replace either the inside (medial) part, the outside (lateral) part, or the kneecap.
- Hip replacement. Your surgeon will remove your damaged hip joint (or the damaged portions of your hip joint) and replace it with an artificial joint that is attached to your thighbone and your pelvis.
- Anterior hip replacement. Our surgeons are expert in anterior hip replacement, an alternative to traditional hip replacement surgery that results in less pain, faster recovery and improved mobility. This technique allows your surgeon to work between your muscles and tissues without detaching them from either the hip or thighbone, sparing the tissue from trauma.
- Shoulder replacement. Your surgeon will remove your damaged shoulder joint (or the damaged portions of your shoulder joint) and replace it with an artificial joint that is attached to your upper arm bone and your shoulder.
- Joint revision. Although the vast majority of our joint replacement surgeries are successful, our surgeons offer joint revision surgery to make adjustments in the event that there are problems with the replacement.
Preparing for Surgery
At Vermont Orthopaedic Clinic, we understand that planning for joint replacement surgery can be stressful and often confusing. That's why we make patient education and patient care our top priorities. Our staff will guide you every step of the way, from pre-admission testing to preoperative classes, as well as preparation for returning home after surgery.
Prior to your surgery, we will help you schedule any pre-operative physicals and lab work you may need. If you don’t live in the area, we can assist you remotely.
We are also available to help you with logistical matters such as:
- Navigating insurance paperwork
- Expediting follow up appointments
- Securing at-home assistance if needed
- Arranging your discharge to a rehabilitation facility if necessary
- Helping you determine the equipment your need for a safe return home – i.e. wheelchairs, walkers or equipment for at-home therapy
Your family members are also encouraged to ask any questions they may have, especially those who may be helping you on the day of your surgery or during your recovery period.
We offer pre-operative joint replacement classes which provide information on joint replacement surgery – how it works and what to expect. During the class, our staff will answer questions and address any concerns you may have.
Rehabilitation & Recovery
After a joint replacement, you will need to do post-operative rehabilitation, usually physical therapy, to make sure you heal properly and gain full use of your new joint. Consistent rehabilitation is critical to getting a successful result, and the more committed you are to your post-op therapy the better the outcome.
Some patients may need to enter a rehabilitation facility after surgery and begin their rehab there. Those patients can usually return home after about two weeks and continue their physical therapy on an outpatient basis.
The length of time for outpatient rehabilitation varies depending on the type of surgery and the age and health of the patient but generally takes two to four months.
You can do your outpatient physical therapy anywhere you choose, whether at Rutland Regional or another facility in the area. If you live out of the region, you may decide to do your rehabilitation near your home.
Regardless of where you choose to do your rehab, our therapists will create a personalized plan for your recovery, which they will share with your therapist. Our staff will also follow up with you and your therapist throughout your rehabilitation to check on your progress and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Joint Replacement Classes
To make sure that you are as prepared as possible for your procedure and at-home recovery, we recommend that you and your support person attend one of our preoperative joint replacement classes. In addition to free public presentations by our expert surgeons, we offer specific classes for all types of joint replacements.
During your preoperative class, our medical professionals will answer any questions you may have and provide general information on a variety of topics, including:
- Pain management options, such as medications, nerve blocks, injections and other methods
- Anatomy and joint functionality
- A description of the new joint and how it works
- Infection prevention
- Preventive antibiotics, if required
- Preoperative planning
- Recovery planning
- Fall risk and prevention