Joint Replacement

When a patient's quality of life becomes severely limited by pain or stiffness, The Spine & Joint Center's total joint replacement program can offer them a new lease on life. The Spine & Joint Center offers both total knee and hip replacement services.

Total joint replacement involves removing and replacing an arthritic or damaged joint with an artificial one. In a healthy joint, a smooth layer called cartilage covers the bone ends of a joint. Normal cartilage acts as a near frictionless surface allowing pain-free movement. When cartilage becomes damaged or diseased by arthritis, joints become stiff and movement is painful. The goal of total joint replacement is to relieve the pain caused by the damage done to the cartilage.

Through a physical exam, laboratory tests and/or x-rays, The Spine & Joint Center's physicians are able to determine the extent of damage to the joint. Total joint replacement may be considered if other treatment options do not relieve the stiffness and pain. When joint replacement is indicated, The Spine & Joint Center's experienced team of fellowship-trained surgeons, physiatrists and physical therapists develop a coordinated plan to care for joint replacement patients from surgery through rehabilitation.

Over 550,000 Americans receive artificial joints each year. Knee and hip replacements are the most common. Total joint replacement is a routine surgery with an overwhelmingly high success rate. For example, more than 90% of people who have had total knee replacement experience a dramatic improvement in knee pain and function.

Joint implants are designed to replicate the body's natural anatomy. They are shaped to restore normal movement and function. The surgeon preserves as much of the natural bone as possible, replacing only the damaged areas that are causing pain. Most joint implants are made out of strong metal and high-quality medical-grade polyethylene (a type of durable plastic). The metal component reinforces the bone while the polyethylene component provides a smooth surface-much like cartilage-for a painless gliding motion.

Joint implant surgery typically lasts 1-1/2 to 2 hours. This is followed by a few days recovery time in the hospital and then, upon return home, a few months of physical therapy. Most patients take about 6 months for full recovery. Depending upon the patient, joint implants may last about 10 to 15 years, after which time they may wear down and need to be replaced.

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