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How Useful Is Artificial Joint?

Apr. 17, 2021

What is joint replacement surgery?

In your body, you have many joints, which are places where two or more bones meet. Joints can be hinge joints classified by their ability to bend and straighten (e.g. a knee) or ball and socket joints (e.g. your shoulder), which are joints with rounded ends. One bone fits into another. For many people, the articular cartilage or the cartilage lining the end of the bone can become damaged and weakened over time.

Joint replacement surgery is a treatment used to relieve pain and restore more normal function and mobility to damaged joints. The surgery involves removing the damaged joint and tissue, which can then be replaced with an artificial prosthesis. Joint replacement surgery is usually performed on hips, knees and shoulders, but can also be performed on fingers, ankles and elbows.


What causes joint problems?

Joint problems are most commonly caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although the causes of arthritis are not known, several of the following may contribute to joint weakness.

 

Genetic predisposition

Mild repetitive injuries

Severe cartilage trauma

Joint or cartilage problems

Joint pain, although less common, can also be caused by bursitis, gout, bone/joint infections, cancer, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and certain infectious diseases.

 Knee Prostheses

Who is a candidate for joint replacement surgery?

Joint replacement surgery is not usually the first choice for patients suffering from joint pain. Usually, you are first advised to choose a treatment option such as medication, physiotherapy and changes to your daily habits. If these non-surgical treatments do not help and you continue to experience functional decline and disabling pain, your doctor may recommend joint replacement.


Complete and partial joint replacement

There are two types of joint replacement: total replacement and partial replacement. As the name suggests, partial replacement means that only part of the joint needs to be replaced, whereas total replacement involves replacing the damaged cartilage with a prosthesis. Partial replacements are less invasive and have a shorter recovery time, but are usually too damaging to the cartilage and bone for the patient to require a full replacement. Both types of surgery may need to be followed by a physiotherapy or occupational therapy programme to ensure the joint heals completely.

Benefits of joint replacement surgery

Pain relief: The main reason people undergo this type of surgery is to stop suffering from chronic and extreme pain.

Restoration of movement and mobility: Joint replacement allows many people to resume activities and hobbies they once enjoyed, such as cycling, hiking, swimming and golfing, before the pain subsides. This leads to an overall improvement in quality of life.

Reduced risk of chronic disease: According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, total hip replacement reduces the incidence of mortality, heart failure, depression and diabetes.

Safer than ever before: compared to a few years ago, arthroplasty is now both safer and more effective. Although there are still risks associated with the procedure, advances in the procedure usually result in higher levels of post-operative function than in the past.