Joint replacement surgery
What Are the Causes of Serious - Hip and Knee Problems?
Problems with major joints like the hip and knee are most frequently the result of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is most often related to wear and tear that
has been placed on the joints over the years. Its onset is usually after age 50. Factors that
predispose this condition include family history, obesity, previous surgery to the joint where a large
piece of cartilage (cushion between the bones) was removed, or previous fractures in the area of
Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of the more common kinds of inflammatory arthritis. It is a chronic
inflammatory disorder affecting the joints of the body which are lined with a membrane called
synovium. These joints include the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hands and feet. Rheumatoid
arthritis is likely of autoimmune origin, which means the body produces cells that irritate the
synovium in the joint leading to destruction of the cartilage. This form of arthritis occurs in all age
groups. It is characterized by stiffness, joint swelling, and laxity of the ligaments, pain, and
decreased range of motion.
What is Total Knee Replacement Surgery?
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The knee joint is composed of three parts: the end of the femur (thigh bone), the top of the tibia
(shin bone), and the patella (knee cap). In a normal knee, these three bones are covered with a
smooth cartilage that cushions the bones and enables them to move easily. In the arthritic knee,
the cartilage layers are destroyed resulting in bone rubbing against bone which causes pain, muscle
weakness and limited motion. Total knee replacement surgery involves the resurfacing of the knee
joint. Metal components are cemented to the ends of the bones and a plastic liner is inserted
between them. The kneecap is also resurfaced with a plastic liner. When in place, these components
move together to allow normal motion of the knee joint. Bow leg or knock knee deformity can
usually be corrected by the new alignment.
What is Total Hip Replacement Surgery?
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Your hip joint is composed of two parts: the round head of the femur (the ball) and the acetabulum
(the cup or socket in your pelvis). In a normal hip joint these two bones are coated with smooth
articular cartilage that allows them to move against each other without friction or pain. In an
arthritic hip, the cartilage layers are destroyed, and bone rubs against bone causing pain and
Hip replacement surgery replaces your arthritic hip joint with an artificial joint composed of a ball
component and a socket component. The metal ball is attached to a stem that fits. into your thigh
bone. This component can be cemented or non-cemented depending on your' age and the condition
of your bone. A plastic liner with an outer metal shell is secured into your pelvis. A combination of a
cemented ball and a non-cemented socket also may be used. Your orthopaedic surgeon will choose
the type of prosthesis that best meets your individual needs. Once in place, the artificial ball and
socket function in essentially the same manner as your natural hip.
Risks of Joint Replacement Surgery?
Joint replacement is considered to be major surgery. It is important that you are aware of potential
risks and complications. These include problems from anesthesia, infection, surgical bleeding, blood
clots, and damage to nerves or blood vessels, dislocation with hip replacement, and very rarely,
death. Although these complications are rare, they are possible. Every precaution is taken by your
healthcare team to avoid these complications. Over time, an artificial joint may become loose or
wear out, and could require further surgery and repair.
What Results Can You Expect from a Joint Replacement?
Generally, total joint replacement is successful. Pain is relieved, deformity corrected, and patients
resume former activities and enjoy an active lifestyle. Long term success rates vary from 10 to 20
years, depending on age, weight, and activity level.