The skeletal structure of the human body is made up of many different types of joints, the point where two bones meet. The knee joint is called a “hinge,” as it can bend and straighten. The hip and shoulder joints are “ball-and-socket” where the rounded end of one fits into the hollow of another bone, allowing for a rotation movement.
Normal joints have “articular cartilage,” and are coated with synovial fluid which allows them to move smoothly. When this cartilage erodes or is damaged due to disease, trauma, or age, or the fluid is reduced, joints become stiff and painful. This condition with symptoms such as pain and stiffness, is called arthritis.
Your doctor will first suggest non-surgical treatments to reduce pain and help you move better, often with the use of walking aids, exercise, or medications. If these do not work, the joint may be too compromised to be resolved with any other treatment, and surgery becomes necessary.
In joint replacement, abnormal bone and lining structures are surgically removed and replaced with new parts constructed of metal, plastic or carbon-coated implants. These new parts restore mobility to the joints, and are usually painless.
Benefits of Joint Replacement
· Reduce pain
· Restore motion
· Improve look and alignment
· Improve overall function
The most common joint surgeries are performed on hips and knees. However, replacement surgery can be and is conducted on other joints as well:
Hip replacement can be total or hemi (half). A total hip replacement addresses both the acetabulum and the femoral head. Hemiarthroplasty only replaces the femoral head.
The knee is the largest and most complex joint connecting major limbs and bearing the total weight of the body. It is susceptible to multiple injuries and ailments. Knee surgery options depend on the portion that needs to be treated – from a torn ACL, to partial or total knee replacement, to microfracture surgery.
Shoulder joint replacements include the deltopectoral approach to save the deltoid. And the transdeltoid approach, at the glenoid. Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement is an option in severe cases.
The elbow bones are replaced with an artificial joint made from implants that attach to the bones in the arm. A metal and plastic hinge joins the implants together.
Wrist Joint Replacement (Wrist Arthroplasty)
In wrist joint replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the wrist bones are removed and replaced with artificial components.
Total Ankle Arthroplasty (TAA) is a surgical procedure used by orthopedic foot and ankle specialist surgeons to treat ankles affected by severe arthritis.
A finger joint (PIP) and knuckle joint (MP) replacement involves removal of the damaged joint and replacement with an artificial implant. This replicates normal joint function. The specific goals are to relieve pain, restore joint stability and mobility.
Total Joint Replacement
TJR is an orthopedic procedure in which an arthritic or dysfunctional joint surface, usually in hip or knee, is replaced with a prosthesis. Joint replacement is an option when severe pain or dysfunction fails to respond to less-invasive therapies.
Joint Replacement Surgical Options
This technique involves repairing tears in soft tissue around the knee, hip, shoulder, and other joints. Damaged cartilage is repaired, and broken cartilage pieces are removed.
An arthritic joint surface is replaced with an orthopedic prosthesis.
For knee joints, this is unicompartmental or partial knee replacement. Implants are inserted in only one of the three knee compartments: the medial (inside), lateral (outside) or patellofemoral (front) compartment. In hip joint resurfacing, a metal cup replaces the hip socket while the damaged hip ball is reshaped and topped with a metal prosthesis.
A bone is cut and removed, or a piece is added near a damaged joint. In the knee, an osteotomy shifts weight from an arthritic area to a healthy area. In the hip it is used to correct misalignment, or hip dysplasia.
Inflammatory arthritis affects the lining of the joints – the synovium – and damages surrounding cartilage and joints. In this procedure the affected synovium is removed.
Arthrodesis or Fusion
Hardware such as pins, plates, or rods are used to fuse two or more bones in the affected joint to create a continuous joint. As the bones grow together, they stabilize the joint and hold it in place.
Total Joint Replacement (TJR) or Total Joint Arthroplasty
The damaged joint is replaced with an implant constructed of plastic, metal, ceramic, or carbon-coated components. The implant functions like the original joint.
Minimally Invasive TJR
As in TJR, this technique also replaces damaged joints, but with smaller incisions. Less cutting and reattachment of muscle is involved.
The life of an implant is between 15-20 years. Those who get them at a young age may eventually need a second replacement, known as a revision.
The relatively long-term efficacy of a joint replacement procedure provides an improved quality of life. Pain free movement, increased joint strength, easier handling of daily activities, and independence become possible.
At Advanced Bone & Joint we look forward to serving you. If you have any questions about joint replacement, our orthopedic services, or wish to schedule an appointment, you can call (636) 229-4222 or use our secure online appointment request form.