Dr. O'Connor explains if a woman should defer her knee replacement surgery until she is more physically fit.
We have some new data that really shows a difference in physical conditioning of women compared to men before knee replacement surgery, and unfortunately, the women are a lot weaker. And we see this play out because after surgery, women have more trouble going up and down stairs, rising from a seated position, walking distances, and that all ties back to the fact that their muscles were weaker before the surgery.
So it’s very important that both the doctor and the patient focus on good rehab and good exercises, both before and after the surgery. Now sometimes it’s hard before surgery because their knee really hurts, and they can’t do the exercises. And you have to understand that, but then say, recognize, you’re really going to have to work on getting your muscle strength back because we want you to have just a great result.
Then one interesting question is, what about delaying surgery? The patient that comes in, and their knee is pretty bad and they are having a lot of pain, well, knee replacement surgery is an elective operation, so you don’t have to have it. The question is, when should you have it, and one concern that I have is that oftentimes women who put off the surgery sometimes actually hurt themselves in the long run because they are just getting weaker and weaker as they delay the surgery.
About Dr. O'Connor, M.D.:
Dr. Mary O'Connor, M.D., was accepted as a resident in orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York in 1985. She joined the orthopedic surgery staff at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida in 1991, and since 2005 has served as department chair. Dr. O'Connor cares for people with hip and knee arthritis, failed joint replacements, and pelvic tumors.