Arthroplasty, commonly known as joint replacement surgery, is a medical procedure that involves replacing a damaged or diseased joint with an artificial joint made of metal, plastic, or ceramic materials. Typically, this surgical procedure entails the replacement of the entire joint, although in some cases, only the damaged portion may be replaced. The most frequently targeted areas for joint replacement surgery include the hips, knees, and shoulders. Joint replacement surgery can also be performed in other joints, including the ankle, wrist, and elbow.
The duration of recovery following joint replacement surgery varies among individuals. It is influenced by factors such as age, lifestyle, the type of procedure performed, and the joint that was replaced.
Different types of joint replacement surgery
Several types of joint replacement surgeries are tailored to specific joints. Some of the most common joint replacement surgeries include,
1. Total hip replacement
A total hip replacement involves replacing the damaged hip joint with an artificial joint made of ceramic or metal. Hip surgery is typically recommended for those with chronic hip pain or limited mobility due to osteoarthritis or other hip conditions causing joint damage. In India, this is most commonly caused by avascular necrosis or rheumatoid arthritis. The recovery time following surgery can vary, but most individuals can resume normal activities within three to four weeks.
2. Total Knee replacement
Knee arthroplasty, also known as knee replacement or total knee replacement, is a surgical intervention aimed at resurfacing a knee that has been damaged by arthritis. The surgery involves capping the ends of the bones that form the knee joint and the kneecap with metal and plastic components. This procedure may be recommended for individuals with severe arthritis or deformities due to age or degeneration of joints. Knee joint osteoarthritis accounts for around 80% of all total knee replacement surgeries, while rheumatoid arthritis accounts for 15% of cases. The remaining 5% of cases are due to causes such as trauma, post-operative osteoarthritis, gout, and others.
3. Shoulder replacement:
Shoulder replacement involves replacing the shoulder's damaged ball and socket joint with an artificial joint made of metal and plastic. The procedure is recommended for individuals experiencing severe shoulder pain and limited mobility due to arthritis or rotator cuff tears.
4. Ankle replacement:
This surgery aims to relieve pain caused by arthritis and preserve joint mobility. It is used to treat ankle arthritis, where portions of the bone and cartilage in the joint are removed and replaced with prosthetic joints. The patient can regain better ankle function and quality of life by replacing the damaged joint.
5. Elbow replacement:
Elbow replacement, or total elbow arthroplasty, relieves pain and restores motion in a damaged elbow by replacing the joint with an artificial one. This surgery can significantly improve a patient's quality of life from elbow
6. Wrist replacement:
Although less frequently performed than hip or knee replacement, joint replacement surgery of the wrist can be an effective treatment option for individuals experiencing painful arthritis unresponsive to other treatments. A wrist replacement involves removing damaged areas and replacing them with artificial ones.
When is joint replacement surgery recommended?
Joint replacement surgery is typically recommended for individuals with severe joint pain and disability which cannot be managed effectively by non-surgical methods. These symptoms can stem from various conditions, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, hip fractures, joint abnormalities, and avascular necrosis. In addition, inflammation and swelling that do not improve with medications or lifestyle changes may also indicate the need for joint replacement surgery. A thorough evaluation of a patient's overall health, age, and lifestyle will be conducted before joint replacement surgery is recommended.
Preparation for joint replacement surgery
Preparing for joint replacement surgery involves several steps to help ensure a successful outcome and minimise the risk of complications. Here are some essential steps to follow,
1. Consultation with a healthcare professional: Consult your healthcare provider about the surgery and what to expect. Ask questions and seek clarification to ensure you fully understand the procedure.
2. Preoperative evaluation: Your surgeon will perform a thorough assessment to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery. This may include a physical examination, blood tests, imaging studies, and other tests.
3. Lifestyle changes: Make changes to your lifestyle, such as quitting smoking and losing weight, to help reduce the risk of complications.
4. Medication management: Discuss your current medications with your healthcare provider to ensure they are safe to take before and after surgery.
5. Home modifications: Make modifications to your home to ensure a safe and comfortable recovery, such as installing grab bars and a shower chair and removing trip hazards.
6. Preoperative exercises: Your healthcare provider may recommend preoperative exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion before surgery.
7. Postoperative care: Arrange for postoperative care, such as physical therapy and home healthcare services, to help with recovery.
8. Mental preparation: Prepare mentally for the surgery and recovery process. It may be helpful to join a support group or speak with family or friends who have undergone similar procedures.
Also read: Ideal Sitting Posture
Procedure for joint replacement surgery
The procedure for joint replacement surgery varies depending on the joint being replaced, but some general steps are typically followed. First, the patient is given anaesthesia to ensure they are comfortable and pain-free during the surgery. The surgeon then makes an incision to access the joint, removes the damaged or diseased bone and tissue, and prepares the area for the new joint. The artificial joint is then attached to the remaining bone using a unique adhesive called bone cement or screws after getting the press fit in the uncemented prosthesis.
The incision is closed using stitches or staples, and a bandage or dressing is applied. After the surgery, the patient is taken to a recovery room to be monitored for a few hours before shifting to a room.
The duration of your hospital stay after the joint replacement surgery depends on the type of procedure you undergo. Some patients may be discharged the next day, while others may require a hospital stay of 2-3 days. It is recommended that you discuss your recovery plan with your healthcare provider.
Like any surgery, joint replacement surgery carries certain risks and potential complications. These may include,
Infection at the surgical site.
Injury or damage to nerves around the replaced joint.
Dislocation of the new joint.
Loosening or wearing of the prosthesis over time.
Fracture or breakage of the bone during or after surgery.
Persistent pain or stiffness in the joint.
Allergic reaction to the prosthesis or anaesthesia.
Arthroplasty complications may more likely occur if you have certain health conditions. Before surgery, you must inform your healthcare provider if you have diabetes, haemophilia, or an autoimmune disease like lupus or other medical conditions. These conditions need better management beforehand for the smooth recovery process from joint replacement surgery
It is essential to discuss the risks and benefits of joint replacement surgery with your healthcare provider before making a decision. While complications can occur, most people who undergo joint replacement surgery have successful outcomes and improved quality of life. It’s one of the most reproducible surgery giving consistently good results.
Also read: Types of Orthopaedic Surgeries
Joint replacement surgery is generally considered a highly successful procedure with significant long-term benefits. Patients experience a pain-free joint with improved mobility and an increased ability to perform everyday activities. Joint replacement surgery typically includes enhanced quality of life and increased overall satisfaction. But everyone tends to recover differently, and it is better to have an open conversation with your healthcare provider to have realistic expectations.
Backed by a team of expert orthopaedic surgeons, state-of-the-art facilities, and a dedicated physiotherapy department with expert physiotherapists, Polaris Hospital has become a choice for joint replacement surgery. Our team of specialists will analyse the root cause, give the appropriate treatment to relieve joint-related symptoms, and help you resume your normal lifestyle quickly and effectively.
About The Author: Dr. Surendra Patil
Dr. Surendra Patil, MBBS, Diploma in Orthopaedics, DNB - Orthopedics Surgery, is a dynamic surgeon with skilled hands well versed in various surgical procedures in orthopedics and exceptionally well-read in his chosen expertise. He is proficient in Arthroscopic Surgeries, Adult Joint Reconstruction Surgery, Accidents & Emergencies, Joint Replacement, Healthcare Management, and Healthcare in general. He is an experienced Medical Professional with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & healthcare industry.