Joint replacement surgery is a procedure in which the dysfunctional or the damaged joint surface is replaced with an orthopedic prosthesis (an artificial body part). The treatment is to be considered when the dysfunction is not alleviated by less-invasive therapies.
In a normal joint, bones have a smooth, glistening surface made of a substance called articular cartilage. Present on the ends of the bone, the cartilage allows one bone to glide easily against another. Moreover, joints are lubricated by a thin layer of fluid known as synovial fluid. This acts like oil in an engine to keep moving parts gliding smoothly. When the cartilage wears out or is damaged, problems develop and joints often become stiff and painful – the procedure is known as arthritis. In some cases, it may be possible to treat arthritic joints surgically, including “joint replacement” procedures.
In the procedure, the surgeon (an orthopaedic) may not remove the whole joint, but will only replace or fix the damaged parts. These new parts may be made of special metal or plastic (certain forms of polyethylene) or specific kinds of carbon-coated implants. The new parts allow the joints to move again with little or no pain.
The doctor may suggest a joint replacement to improve how you live. Replacing a joint can relieve pain and help you move and feel better. The most common joints to be replaced are hips and knees. Other joints that can be replaced include the shoulders, fingers, ankles, and elbows.
Each surgery is different. How long it takes depends on how badly the joint is damaged and how the surgery is done. To replace a knee or a hip takes about 2 hours, unless there are complicating factors. After surgery, you will be moved to a recovery room.
With knee or hip surgery, you will probably need to stay in the hospital for a few days. The doctors will determine how long you stay in the hospital. After hip or knee replacement, you will often stand or begin walking the day of surgery. At first, you will need a support like a walker or crutches. You may have some temporary pain in the new joint because your muscles are weak from not being used. Also, your body is healing. The pain can be helped with medicines and should end in a few weeks.
The main and most common reason to have a joint replacement is pain relief. During a hip or knee replacement, a surgeon removes the painful, damaged surfaces of the joint and replaces them with plastic or metal implants. This gets rid of the pain, because the diseased cartilage and bone are no longer there.
Artificial joints should not be done when:
Be sure to call your surgeon if you experience a sudden increase in pain or swelling. You may always contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions related to any such issues.
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