Healthy joints are a critical component to leading a healthy, active life. Knees, hips, shoulders and ankles are all different types of joints that allow us to reach ranges of motion and create different movements. Patients who experience joint pain understand that it can oftentimes be debilitating and lead to a significant decrease in quality of life when joints are achy and not correctly functioning. However, relief is available to patients who have not been able to find reliable pain management through medication, diet and exercise.

Patients who suffer from significant long-term joint pain should talk to their doctor to determine if they are a good candidate for total joint replacements. Many surgeons implement minimally-invasive arthroscopic surgical techniques to reduce healing time and return patients to 100 percent as quickly as possible.

While there are numerous ailments that could contribute to a patient experiencing significant joint pain, oftentimes the pain is related to damaged cartilage in between bones due to a fracture or other conditions. The first course of action is typically medication, physical therapy and a change in diet and exercise under the guidance of a physician. However, surgical intervention may be necessary if the other treatment options are insufficient. Arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure, may provide relief of arthritis, but is not generally recommended for advanced arthritis, as long-term relief is not very reliable.

After a patient and their doctor have determined that a total joint replacement is the appropriate medical action to take, a series of check-ups and tests are required. Typically, a patient’s primary care physician will perform a standard physical to ensure the patient is healthy enough to undergo surgery. Additionally, the surgeon may request additional blood tests and a cardiogram be performed to help plan the surgery and create a specific care plan for pre- and post-operative care.

Patients should take the time to understand what the healing process will entail prior to the procedure. While the surgery technique itself is usually minimally-invasive, total joint replacement is still a significant procedure. Planning for the appropriate care can significantly alleviate post-operative stress and help the healing process run as smoothly and quickly as possible. Fresno Surgical Hospital provides a variety of patient education materials to patients before their scheduled procedure.

“We pay close attention to each patient’s special circumstances to ensure we’re designing a care plan that best suits the individual’s needs,” says Jerome Dunklin, MD, and orthopedic surgeon with Fresno Surgical Hospital. “Fresno Surgical Hospital’s specialized staff and comfortable environment ensure patients get the highest-quality care before, during and after their total joint replacement surgery.”

Depending on the type of procedure, total joint replacement may be performed as an inpatient or outpatient surgery. Patients should expect the procedure to last a few hours, and healing could take between several weeks to several months, depending on the patient.

Recovery time will vary from patient to patient, but with consistent physical therapy and adequate home care most patients make a full recovery, which restores a high quality of life with fully-functioning joints. Many patients experience pain in and around their joints immediately after the surgery; physical therapists and surgeons alike agree that the best way to overcome this discomfort is with regular exercise and getting used to the new joint. Your medical team will work closely with you to ensure your post-operative care is the most relevant for your specific experience.

Fresno Surgical Hospital is an award-winning physician-owned hospital. It has been recognized at both the state and national level for its total joint replacement service line. The hospital is also well known for its high-level of patient satisfaction. Learn more about total joint replacement at