Know your options for joint replacement

If you have severe arthritis or joint injury and your doctor has suggested you would benefit from joint replacement surgery, you may feel overwhelmed by the many treatment options. The good news is that new research and advances in joint surgery allow you to make the best decision for your joint health. If you have joint pain or damage, here are a few options available to you.

Joint preservation

To treat joint pain, your orthopedist may try more conservative options to begin with such as corticosteroid and hyaluronic joint injections which involves injecting medications into the joint space to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Another option is arthroplasty, which is a resurfacing the bones in the joint. The goal of these treatments is to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, prevent injury and preserve the cartilage in the joint if possible. These techniques are usually more successful for younger people and those who maintain a healthy weight. The more you weigh, the more stress you are placing on your joints.

old age, health problem and people concept - senior woman suffering from pain in leg at home

Joint replacement surgery

If your joint pain persists or if your joints have deteriorated, joint replacement surgery may be necessary. An artificial joint called a prosthesis might be used in some circumstances, especially if the joint damage is severe. There are different treatment approaches used for joint replacement as well.

Partial joint replacement

Surgeons use this technique if only a small portion of the joint is damaged. During this procedure, the surgeon preserves most of the bone and uses artificial materials to replace specific parts of the joint.

This type of surgery can be performed on many joints, but surgeons use this approach only when it will benefit the patient. Replacing one part of the joint doesn’t necessarily prevent other parts of the joint from damage or degeneration. This is one reason partial replacements may not last as long as total replacement procedures.

Total joint replacement

This type of joint surgery is the most invasive surgical procedure compared to other replacement options. During this surgery, part of an arthritic or damaged joint is removed. The damaged joint is then surgically replaced with a metal or plastic device called a prosthesis. Your prosthesis is specially designed to allow the movement and abilities of a healthy joint.

After any joint surgery, especially total joint replacement, support from family and friends will help you while you are recovering from your procedure. Many people experience improved range of motion in the joint and relief from pain after their surgical procedure. Your health care provider will also suggest that you undergo physical therapy and attend rehabilitation after undergoing any type of joint surgery.

Regular exercise to help you restore strength and mobility to your joint and return to daily living activities will be important for your full recovery. During physical therapy, you will learn mobility and strengthening exercises, which help you to stay healthy and active long after your surgery.

Whether or not you choose joint preservation techniques or choose to have joint replacement surgery, your doctor will guide you through the treatment process and recommend the best course of action for you. After surgery, you can begin your journey to regain full joint function and enjoy an active lifestyle.

If you are experiencing joint pain or think you may need joint surgery, contact Reid Health and let our caring team of health care professionals help.


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