PATIENT EDUCATION

What is Total Joint Replacement?2020-03-11T12:49:45+00:00

What is Total Joint Replacement?

Find out how prosthesis can help in people suffering from joint pain

Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which certain parts of an arthritic or damaged joint, such as a hip or knee joint, are removed and replaced with a plastic or metal device called a prosthesis. The prosthesis is designed to enable the artificial joint to move just like a normal, healthy joint.

Hip replacement involves replacing the femur (head of the thigh bone) and the acetabulum (hip socket). Typically, the artificial ball with its stem is made of a strong metal, and the artificial socket is made of polyethylene (a durable plastic). In total knee replacement, the end of the femur (thighbone) and the top of the tibia (shinbone) are resurfaced. The artificial knee implant is also composed of metal and polyethylene. The prosthesis is secured into place with bone cement or is covered with an advanced material that allows bone tissue to grow into it.

Total joint replacements of the hip and knee have been performed since the 1960s. Today, these procedures have been found to result in significant restoration of function and reduction of pain in 90% to 95% of patients.1 While the expected life of conventional joint replacements is difficult to estimate, it is not unlimited. Today’s patients can look forward to potentially benefiting from new advances that may increase the lifetime of hip and knee prostheses.

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Obesity, Weight Loss, and Joint Replacement Surgery

If you need total knee or total hip replacement surgery and your weight is significantly higher than it should be your doctor may advise you to lose weight before your procedure. Even though you may feel fit and healthy at your current weight, studies show that a patient with a BMI greater than 40 is more likely to experience serious complications both during and after surgery than a patient of normal weight.