Nutrition and Joint Replacement

Joint replacement surgery is one of the greatest advancements of modern medicine. The success rate of total hips and total knees is among the highest of any surgery. The overwhelming majority of patients see an improvement in function and quality of life. However, these surgeries are not without risks.

There are well known risk factors that can increase the risk of an infection or wound complication after surgery (diabetes, obesity, smoking, poor oral hygiene), and it is important to modify these pre-operatively. Additionally, patients want to know what they can do after surgery to help prevent wound complications and heal with full potential.

A total joint surgery is quite traumatic to the surrounding tissue. The body needs sufficient time to heal and recover afterwards. Adequate nutrition is a large part of the equation to post-operative success.

Many people in the general population are undernourished due to inadequate intake of protein. Your body needs building blocks to heal the tissue after surgery, and this is supplied in large part by protein consumed in the diet.

If you’re going to build a house, you must have the materials. A good goal for daily protein intake is 0.5g of protein per lb of body weight (or 1g of protein per Kg of bodyweight). This can easily be achieved by including sources of lean protein in your diet such as beef, poultry, seafood, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, beans/peas/lentils, eggs, and peanut butter. You can obtain 40-50g of protein from a 6 oz chicken breast or lean cut of steak.

If these typical sources of protein are unappealing or you have dietary restrictions, it is easy to supplement protein intake in a variety of ways. Protein powder and protein bars are a quick and simple way to increase your daily protein intake, and the sky is the limit with flavors. The type of protein in these supplements can come from a variety of sources including eggs, animal products, milk, and plants.

These protein supplements can be found at any vitamin shop, grocery store, or pharmacy. Sufficient protein intake can be practical and enjoyable. Getting a total joint can be a life changing experience for many people.

If you are a candidate for this surgery and are ready to move forward, it is important to give yourself the best odds for success. Pay attention to your diet, make it simple, and give your body the resources it needs to heal.

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