What is joint replacement?
Joint replacement is the removal of an arthritic joint surface and replacing it with an artificial joint surface called prosthesis. This procedure is usually done after several conservative measures have been attempted with little symptom relief. Some of these conservative treatment options include activity modification, anti-inflammatory medications, intra-articular corticosteroid injections and Visco-supplementation injections. Joint replacement surgery is intended to reduce pain and provide improvement in a patient’s ability to participate in activities of daily living.
Do I need joint replacement?
This is a question you should discuss with your orthopedic surgeon or primary care physician. Arthritis can cause the effected joint to be deformed and painful enough the patient has difficulty using the joint. There are several conservative measures and treatment options that should be attempted prior to having a joint replacement performed. If symptoms are not controlled with conservative management, then often a total joint replacement is recommended.
What age is best for joint replacement?
Age is a significant consideration in determining when to have a joint replacement done. Age, however, is not the only determining factor. The overall health of the patient is more of the main concern when it comes to a major surgical procedure. It is important to keep in mind that a joint replacement is a prosthetic implant. This prosthesis has a definitive lifespan and can wear over time. If a joint replacement is done at a younger age, that patient has the potential to wear out implants leading to a revision procedure. An elderly patient that is healthy and active but restricted by a painful joint may be a very good candidate for a joint replacement surgery.
What is arthroscopic surgery?
Arthroscopic surgery is a common procedure using small instruments and a small camera inserted into the joint or space in order to visualize, diagnose and often treat issues. The instruments are inserted through small incisions in the skin. The camera uses fiber optics to project the inside of the joint onto a TV screen. There are a variety of different arthroscopic instruments used to perform various tasks in small, close spaces or joints. Arthroscopic surgeries often lead to quicker recovery and provide an excellent way for the surgeon to access and visualize small spaces and joints. Arthroscopic surgery is used in a variety of specialties and can treat a multitude of medical problems.