Joint replacement surgery is a surgical procedure to remove a joint that has been damaged or affected by arthritis and replace it with an artificial joint, called prosthesis. Normal joints are covered by a smooth layer of cartilage which prevents your bones from rubbing together. Joints affected by arthritis have little or no cartilage left causing the bones to rub together and usually the need for joint replacement surgery after an extended period of time.
The goal of joint replacement surgery is to relieve the pain in your joints. During joint replacement surgery the patient is under anesthesia while the surgeon replaces the damaged joint and bones with artificial ones. The materials used in total joint replacements are designed to allow artificial joints to move just as your normal joints would. Your surgeon will discuss which procedure will best fit your needs and any potential risks or complications that could arise.
Older patients can expect their total joint replacement to last about a decade. The surgery will give these patients years full of pain-free living that would have otherwise not been possible. Younger patients may need a second total joint replacement further down the road. Materials and surgical techniques continue to improve through the efforts of orthopedic surgeons teaming up with engineers and scientists.
The future is bright for those in need of a total joint replacement. In choosing to do so, an improved quality of life through greater independence and healthier pain-free activity usually results.