What is Joint Replacement Surgery and What Are its Benefits?

This article will discuss joint replacement surgery, exploring its various types, including total hip and knee replacements and partial joint replacements. 

For expert care and personalized treatment options, don’t hesitate to contact Orthopedic Specialists & Sports Medicine, with convenient locations in Granville and Coshocton, Ohio. Let us help you take the first step toward a pain-free and active lifestyle!

What is Joint Replacement Surgery?

Joint replacement surgery is a medical procedure that helps people who suffer from severe joint pain and limited mobility. When a joint, like the knee or hip, becomes damaged due to conditions like arthritis or injury, it can cause significant discomfort and restrict movement. That’s where joint replacement surgery comes in.

During the surgery, the damaged joint is replaced with an artificial joint—also known as a prosthesis. This artificial joint is made from durable materials like metal, plastic, or ceramic, designed to mimic the function of a natural joint.

The process typically involves removing the damaged cartilage and bone from the affected joint and replacing it with prosthetic components. The new artificial joint helps to restore smooth movement, reduce pain, and improve overall function.

Doctors looking at a hip X-Ray before hip joint replacement surgery in Granville, OH.

What Are the Different Types of Joint Replacement Surgery?

Joint replacement surgery encompasses several types, each targeting specific joints and conditions:

  1. Hip Replacement: This surgery involves replacing a damaged or diseased hip joint with an artificial implant. It’s commonly performed to address conditions like osteoarthritis or hip fractures. During the procedure, the damaged ball-and-socket joint of the hip is replaced with prosthetic components, restoring mobility and reducing pain.
  2. Knee Replacement: Knee replacement surgery is aimed at replacing damaged surfaces of the knee joint with artificial implants. It’s recommended for individuals with severe arthritis or knee injuries causing significant pain and mobility issues. The surgery entails removing damaged portions of the knee joint and replacing them with metal and plastic components, facilitating smoother movement and pain relief.
  3. Shoulder Replacement: Shoulder replacement surgery involves replacing the damaged parts of the shoulder joint with prosthetic components. It’s commonly performed for conditions like severe arthritis or rotator cuff injuries. During the procedure, the damaged ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder is replaced with artificial implants, improving range of motion and reducing discomfort.
  4. Partial Joint Replacement: This type of surgery involves replacing only the damaged portion of a joint, while preserving the healthy parts. It’s often recommended for patients with localized joint damage, such as in partial knee replacements. Partial joint replacement surgeries typically offer quicker recovery times and may be preferable for certain individuals.
  5. Ankle Replacement: Ankle replacement surgery is performed to address severe arthritis or joint damage in the ankle. It involves replacing the damaged portions of the ankle joint with artificial implants, restoring mobility, and reducing pain.

What Are Some Reasons Why Joint Replacement Surgery May Be Necessary?

Joint replacement surgery becomes necessary when other treatments fail to relieve pain and restore mobility in severely damaged joints. Doctors may recommend joint replacement surgery for conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or severe joint injuries. 

If someone experiences persistent and debilitating pain, difficulty performing daily activities, or reduced quality of life due to joint problems, surgery might be the best option. For instance, in cases of severe pain in the hip that limits movement, a total hip replacement can effectively alleviate discomfort and improve function. 

How to Prepare for Joint Replacement Surgery

Preparing for joint replacement surgery involves several steps to ensure the best possible outcome:

  1. Medical Evaluation: Your doctor will conduct a thorough medical evaluation to assess your overall health and identify any underlying conditions that may affect the surgery or recovery.
  2. Pre-Surgery Instructions: Follow any pre-surgery instructions provided by your healthcare team, which may include restrictions on eating and drinking before the procedure.
  3. Medications: Inform your doctor about all medications you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and supplements. Your doctor may adjust your medication regimen before surgery.
  4. Physical Therapy: Engage in pre-operative physical therapy exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joint and improve mobility.
  5. Home Preparation: Arrange for assistance at home during the recovery period, ensuring a comfortable and safe environment. This may involve installing assistive devices like handrails or shower chairs.

What Happens During Joint Replacement Surgery?

During a joint replacement surgery, a skilled surgeon, such as a knee surgeon for knee replacement surgery or a shoulder surgeon for shoulder replacement surgery, removes the damaged parts of a joint affected by conditions like knee pain or hip pain. 

The surgical procedure involves replacing the damaged joint with an artificial joint made of durable materials. This artificial joint acts as a substitute for the damaged joint, enabling smoother movement and reduced pain. The surgery typically lasts a few hours and is performed under anesthesia to ensure the patient’s comfort. 

After surgery, patients undergo physical therapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding the replaced joint and regain mobility. Overall, joint replacement surgery aims to restore function and improve quality of life for individuals with severely damaged joints involving two or more bones.

What Are the Benefits of Joint Replacement Surgery?

Joint replacement surgery offers several benefits for individuals suffering from severe joint pain and limited mobility. These include:

  • Pain Relief: By replacing damaged joints with artificial implants, surgery can alleviate chronic pain and discomfort, allowing individuals to lead more comfortable lives.
  • Improved Mobility: Joint replacement surgery restores mobility and function to the affected joint, enabling individuals to move more freely and perform daily activities with greater ease. 
  • Enhanced Quality of Life: With reduced pain and improved mobility, joint replacement surgery can greatly enhance overall quality of life. Individuals can enjoy activities they may have previously avoided due to joint pain, leading to a more active and fulfilling lifestyle.
  • Long-Term Durability: Modern joint replacement implants are designed to be durable, offering long-lasting results. While the lifespan of implants can vary, many individuals experience significant improvement in joint function for many years after surgery.
  • Reduced Risk of Complications: Although all surgeries carry some risk, joint replacement surgery is generally safe and effective. With advances in surgical techniques and post-operative care, the risk of complications is minimized, allowing for a smoother recovery process.

What Are the Complications and Risks of Joint Replacement Surgery?

While joint replacement surgery is generally safe, there are potential complications and risks to be aware of:

  • Infection: Infection is a risk with any surgery. Although rare, it can occur in the replaced joint, requiring antibiotics or further treatment.
  • Blood Clots: Surgery increases the risk of blood clots forming in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or traveling to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). Medications and movement help reduce this risk.
  • Implant Wear or Loosening: Over time, artificial joints may wear out or become loose, causing pain or instability. Revision surgery may be needed to replace or repair the implant.
  • Nerve or Blood Vessel Damage: During surgery, nearby nerves or blood vessels may be damaged, leading to numbness, weakness, or bleeding.
  • Dislocation: In some cases, the artificial joint may dislocate, requiring manipulation or additional surgery to correct.
  • Allergic Reactions: Rarely, individuals may have allergic reactions to materials used in the implants.

Visit Orthopedic Specialists & Sports Medicine Today

At Orthopedic Specialists & Sports Medicine, we understand the life-changing benefits of joint replacement surgery. Our experienced team of orthopedic specialists is dedicated to providing personalized care tailored to your unique needs. Whether you’re struggling with chronic joint pain or limited mobility, we’re here to help you regain your quality of life. 

With multiple locations in Ohio, including Granville and Coshocton, scheduling an appointment with us is easy. Take the first step towards a pain-free, active lifestyle by contacting our offices in Coshocton and Granville, OH, today! Let us guide you on the path to a brighter, more mobile future.

Medically reviewed by Alex Tancevski, M.D.

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