What is joint replacement surgery, and when is it an appropriate surgical solution?

Joint replacement is a surgical procedure during which a damaged or arthritic joint is replaced with an orthopedic prosthesis. It may be recommended as a treatment option if you suffer from severe joint pain.

Joint replacement surgery, or arthroplasty, is an orthopedic surgical procedure during which the damaged parts of a joint are removed and subsequently reconstructed with the use of an artificial implant or prosthesis. A joint refers to a body region where the ends of two or more bones connect (e.g., fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees, hips, neck, etc.).

Joint replacement surgeries are most commonly performed on the:

Damage affecting this area is quite painful and can severely restrict a person's range of motion. A joint can be damaged following a sudden accident and also aging and conditions such as arthritis.

Non-surgical treatment is always recommended as the first option to improving a joint condition. This approach may include:

  • medication
  • injections
  • physical therapy
  • lifestyle changes
  • exercise
  • weight-loss regimens

Understanding joint replacement surgery

If non-surgical treatments do not relieve your pain and fail to restore the normal functions of the joint, your doctor may recommend a total joint replacement. In these cases, a prosthesis that can execute the same movements as a joint will be implanted. Artificial implants are typically made of various metals, such as:

  • chrome
  • cobalt
  • titanium
  • stainless steel
  • strong plastic
  • ceramic

The implant will be fixed to the bone using acrylic cement, or it will be press-fit, which allows the bone to grow into the prosthesis. Once the artificial joint is successfully replaced, its motions and functions will be restored through regular physical therapy.

If you have recently suffered a severe joint injury while playing sports or following an accident that resulted in severe bone and cartilage damage, immediate joint replacement surgery may be necessary.


Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/