Joint replacement surgery refers to removing a damaged joint and placing a new one. Sometimes, the orthopaedic surgeon will not remove the entire joint, but will only replace the parts that are damaged. Joint replacement surgery is an extremely effective method of eliminating chronic pain in the joints, as well as rectifying a deformity and restoring mobility. Joint replacement surgery is generally performed for the treatment of advanced arthritis.
Candidates for joint replacement surgery often experience intense joint pain, stiffness, weakness in the muscles, limitation in motion, and inflammation. The two major causes of joint dysfunction are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
The procedure involves resurfacing of the joint that is damaged, and depends on the muscles and ligaments of the patient for support and for ensuring proper function. The prosthesis or replacement joint is often made of titanium, cobalt chrome, stainless steel, ceramic material or polyethylene. It could be either affixed to the bone using acrylic cement or it can be press-fit, which facilitates the growth of the bone into the implant. Once the joint replacement is firmly positioned through surgery, the function and mobility is restored through physical therapy.
The most common joint replacement surgeries are Total hip replacement Surgery, Total knee replacement and Total Shoulder replacement surgery.
Major benefits of joint replacement surgery
- Complete relief from pain
- Correction of abnormalities
- Increased range of joint movements
- Stability in the joints
- Improvement in the ability to walk
- Improved quality of life
For a patient who has undergone knee, hip, shoulder or elbow replacement, he has to be in the hospital for about 3 to 5 days. The physiotherapist will recommend certain exercises and will also provide him or her proper gait training using walker, crutches or canes.