What is Total Joint Replacement?
Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which certain parts of an arthritic or damaged joint, such as a hip, knee or shoulder joints, are removed and replaced with a plastic or metal device called a prosthesis. The prosthesis is designed to enable the artificial joint to move just like a normal, healthy joint.
Hip replacement involves replacing the femur (head of the thighbone) and the acetabulum (hip socket). Typically, the artificial ball with its stem is made of a strong metal, and the artificial socket is made of polyethylene (a durable, medical grade plastic). In total knee replacement, the artificial joint is composed of metal and polyethylene and it is used to replace the diseased joint. The prosthesis is anchored into place with bone cement or is covered with an advanced material that allows bone tissue to grow into it.
In shoulder replacement surgery, the artificial shoulder joint can have either two or three parts, depending on the type of surgery required.
The humeral component (metal) is implanted in the humerus.
The humeral head component (metal) replaces the humeral head at the top of the humerus.
The glenoid compontent (plastic) replaces the surface of the glenoid socket.
Total joint replacements of the hip, knee, and shoulder have been performed since the 1960s. Today, these procedures have been found to result in significant restoration of function and reduction of pain in 90% to 95% of patients. While the expected life of conventional joint replacements is difficult to estimate, it is not unlimited. Today’s patients can look forward to potentially benefiting from new advances that may increase the lifetime of the prostheses.
Total Joint Replacement
Total joint replacement is usually reserved for patients who have severe arthritic conditions. Most patients who have artificial hip or knee joints are over 55 years of age, but the operation is being performed in greater numbers on younger patients thanks to new advances in artificial joint technology.
Circumstances vary, but generally patients are considered for total joint replacement if:
Functional limitations restrict not only work and recreation, but also the ordinary activities of daily living
Pain is not relieved by more conservative methods of treatment, such as those described above, by the use of a cane, and by restricting activities
Stiffness in the joint is significant
X-rays show advanced arthritis or other problems
How to Prepare for Joint Replacement Surgery
Getting ready to undergo total joint replacement surgery begins weeks before the actual surgery date. Your doctor may request you take the following steps.
What To Do Before You Check In
Preparing for total joint replacement begins weeks before the actual surgery. Learn everything you need to do before your surgery begins.
The Day of Surgery
The day of your surgery encompasses a variety of things. Learn everything that the day will entail so you can be prepared!
When You Get Home
What to expect, what to watch out for and how to recover safely is crucial knowledge for a successful recovery.
Nearly half a million hip and knee replacements are performed each year in the U.S. using conventional metal/plastic prostheses. Although these procedures have yielded positive results, over the years, the artificial joints can become loose and unstable, requiring a revision (repeat) surgery.
These issues, coupled with the facts that increasing numbers of younger and more active patients are receiving total joint replacements and that older patients are living longer, have challenged the orthopaedic industry to try to extend the life cycle of total joint replacements.
Recent improvements in surgical techniques and instrumentation will help to further the success of your treatment. The availability of advanced materials, such as titanium and ceramic prostheses and new plastic joint liners, provides orthopaedic surgeons with options that may help to increase the longevity of the prosthesis.
Recent Advances in Total Joint Replacement
Life After Surgery
What to Expect When You’re Fully Recovered
When fully recovered, most patients can expect to return to work — unless your type of work is not advisable for people with artificial joints.
Getting Moving Again
It may come as a surprise to you that total joint replacement patients are encouraged to get up and start moving around as soon as possible after surgery.
Life After Joint Replacement
Regaining Mobility Safely, Slowly, Securely
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