Joint replacement is a surgical procedure, performed by an orthopedic surgeon that replaces damaged or diseased joint material and replaces it with a prosthetic device made to fit your body and replicate the form and function of a healthy joint.
Joint replacements can be performed on many joints in the body, including:
Generally, wherever a person can bend or move a part of the body, there is a joint associated with the movement. A joint is where two or more bones come together with connective tissue, cartilage, and muscle. When a disease like arthritis or an injury cause pain, dysfunction, and disability of the joint, an orthopedic surgeon can remove the affected areas to decrease pain and improve mobility and quality of life. Usually, a joint replacement is performed after non-surgical, or conservative, treatments have failed.
You may be a candidate for joint replacement surgery if:
- You have pain that persists and impacts your quality of life
- Have significant swelling and/or stiffness in the joint
- You suffer joint instability – you feel like your joint is giving way or cannot support movement
- Your joint is disfigured due to disease or injury
- You have tried conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medications, or injections, without success
Depending on the type of replacement and the patient, joint replacements can be performed in an acute care hospital setting or in a short-stay setting (same day surgery). After joint replacement patients can expect 6 to 12 weeks of recovery as well as inpatient and outpatient physical therapy, or rehabilitation. Your physician will be able to determine the best course of treatment for you and will educate you on what to expect before, the day of, and after surgery.
The majority of people who undergo a joint replacement procedure experience an increase in quality of life and are able to go back to doing many of the activities they enjoyed before they were limited by pain and loss of mobility. Learn more about joint replacement.