Arthroplasty, a surgery to replace a damaged joint with a prosthesis, is now performed on a daily basis throughout the United States. In fact, there are well over 1 million arthroplasties performed each year in the nation according to the National Institutes of Health and that number is expected to grow to 4 million by 2030.
No matter what may be causing you to consider a joint replacement surgery, there is no need to worry. These days, arthroplasty is a commonplace procedure that utilizes amazingly advanced technologies that allow a precision fit for comfortable, pain-free movement post-surgery. And the artificial joint can feel just as good – or better – than your original joint.
The most common arthroplasty procedures performed are knee replacements, hip replacements, and shoulder replacements, in that order. Many people report feeling so much better after an arthroplasty, wishing they hadn’t lived with the joint pain and limited mobility for as long as they did before deciding on the surgery.
Total Knee Replacement
Knee replacement surgery, or knee arthroplasty, replaces damaged weight-bearing surfaces of the knee with artificial parts. There are three main compartments of the knee: medial (inside), lateral (outside), and patellofemoral (between the kneecap and thighbone). Degeneration of the medial compartment of the knee is most common. When all three compartments are damaged, the surgery is called a total knee replacement.
Arthritis is the most common cause of knee damage requiring surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon can determine whether knee replacement is right for you, depending on your current symptoms and health, range of motion, and your knee’s size, strength, stability, and strength.
Today, you have many options when it comes to the knee prostheses itself. The materials are completely different, and the artificial joints comes in an endless variety of sizes and shapes. Technological advances make it possible to have custom-built joint that will mimic your natural knee size and structure for a perfect fit. The vast majority of people who have had a knee replacement surgery feel dramatically better within mere weeks of the surgery.
In the past, only older adults were considered for knee replacement surgery, but due to the availability of better prostheses and higher-precision surgical techniques and equipment, younger, more active patients are now considered eligible for a knee arthroplasty.
Total Hip Replacement
Hip replacements, or hip arthroplasty, are most often needed as the result of arthritic damage. Bone degeneration and fractures due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and arthritis that sets in after an injury can cause significant hip and groin pain and stiffness. The pain commonly occurs with movement or exercise, and the hip joint be particularly stiff first thing in the morning or after sitting.
Replacing the hip joint with artificial parts involves two main areas: the “ball” atop the femur (thighbone) and the “socket” of the pelvic bone. When both areas are damaged and replaced with prosthetics, it is called a total hip replacement. When just the femoral head (ball) is replaced, it is called a partial hip replacement or hip hemiarthroplasty.
Since the first hip replacement surgery in 1960, improvements in technique and technology have made this type of arthroplasty one of the most successful types. Total hip replacement in particular is an effective orthopedic surgery that can restore smooth, painless movement after arthritis, fracture, or other hip joint damage.
Total Shoulder Replacement
Arthritis, trauma, and rotator cuff injuries are common reasons you may be considering a shoulder replacement surgery (shoulder arthroplasty).
The shoulder is another ball-and-socket joint, and arthroplasty involves replacing the damaged “ball” atop the humerus (upper arm) and the “socket” of the scapula (shoulder blade). When both areas are replaced with prosthetic parts, it is called a total shoulder replacement. When just the ball is replaced, it is called a partial shoulder replacement or shoulder hemiarthroplasty.
In some cases, if the muscles of the rotator cuff (which powers arm movements) are too badly damaged, a reverse shoulder replacement surgery may be called for. This is the reverse of the typical total shoulder replacement. In this case, an artificial “ball” is affixed to the shoulder blade, and an artificial “socket” is created at the top of the upper arm. This allows your arm to bypass the rotator cuff, instead relying on the deltoid muscle to power the arm.
How much pain you are in, and the extent of arm weakness or restricted movement will help determine whether you require a shoulder arthroscopy. The goal of this shoulder surgery is to relieve your pain and restore motion, function, and strength.
If you have joint pain and it is impacting your day-to-day life, get it checked out by a qualified orthopedic surgeon. You may be a good candidate for an arthroplasty. Call the joint replacement specialists at North Country Orthopaedic Group in Watertown, New York, at (315) 782-1650 or request an appointment now. Our goal is to get back to all those activities you enjoy, as quickly and painlessly as possible.