Your doctor may suggest joint replacement to improve your quality of life. Joints most commonly replaced are hips and knees. Other joints may also be replaced like shoulders, fingers, ankles, and elbows. Replacing a joint can relieve pain and help with mobility and reduce pain.
Replacing Worn Joints
Joint degeneration and dysfunction may arise from arthritis, osteonecrosis, congenital conditions, or injuries. Our orthopedic physicians, nurses, and therapists provide a wide range of both surgical and nonsurgical treatments of knee, hip, and shoulder conditions and injuries - from self-care education, physical therapy, occupational therapy and pain management to total joint replacement.
Joint replacement surgery involves replacing a damaged joint with a new one called a prosthesis. These new joints usually are made of special metals, such as stainless steel or titanium, and durable, wear-resistance plastic. Prostheses are designed to be accepted by the body and resist corrosion, degradation and wear so they can last at least 10 to 15 years.
When to Consider Joint Replacement
Joint replacement is usually considered after exercise, walking aids, physical therapy or medications cannot relieve pain and improve mobility. Surgery for hip replacement patients, for example, can help lessen problems walking up and down stairs or make it easier to stand from a seated position. Joint damage is caused by osteoarthritis, injuries, other diseases, joint wear caused by years of use, bone tumor or blood loss due to insufficient blood supply. Symptoms of joint problems include pain, stiffness and swelling.
The Joint Replacement Process
Before surgery, the surgeon evaluates the patient’s range of motion and joint strength, takes a medical history and reviews medications currently being taken. Blood tests and X-rays also can be ordered. The doctor may put a small, lighted tube called an arthroscope into the joint to check for damage. In some cases, only the damaged parts would be replaced, not the entire joint. During a hip replacement surgery, diseased or damaged bone and tissue is removed and a metal stem and attached ball is then inserted into healthy bone and tissue that are left intact.
New joints can be cemented into place to hold the new joint to the bone, or the prosthesis can be placed without cement so bone can grow and attach to it. A prosthesis is designed to duplicate the mechanical properties of the joint being replaced. A prosthetic knee, for example, will be flexible enough to bend without breaking and strong enough to bear weight.
Most hip and knee replacement patients are discharged from the hospital one to three days after surgery. Patients will be encouraged to stand and start walking soon after surgery with a walker or crutches. Pain from sore muscles or surgery can be helped with medication and usually disappears in a few weeks or months. Physical therapy exercises will help regain motion in the joint.
Many options exist for hip replacement. Anterior Supine Intermuscular (ASI) hip replacement is a minimally invasive total hip replacement that involves a shorter surgical incision. Modern minimally invasive techniques also focus on the way surgeons gain access to the hip joint. The goal is to minimize muscle and tendon disruption, making surgery less traumatic for patients, allowing for shorter hospital stays and quicker recoveries.