Joint replacement surgery takes out a joint that has been damaged or deformed by injury or illness and replaces it with an artificial joint. These specially designed medical devices are typically made of ceramic, plastic or metal and function exactly as your normal joints. The most common joint replacement surgeries performed are on knee and hip joints. Artificial joints are also available to ankle, elbow, finger, shoulder and wrist joints.
As with other joints, when damaged joint surfaces or severe arthritis takes over the ankle, moving can be painful or impossible. If physical therapy and other conservative treatments don’t eliminate ankle pain, then ankle replacement may be an option for you. Ankle replacement can relieve pain from arthritis and improve motion at the joint, resulting not only in less pain, but less stress in adjacent joints.
Elbow replacement surgery is usually done if the elbow joint is badly damaged from arthritis, injury or other condition, and you have pain or cannot use your arm. In elbow replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the humerus (upper arm bone) and the ulna (forearm bone on the pinky finger side) are replaced with artificial components. Although elbow joint replacement is much less common than knee or hip replacement, it can be just as successful in relieving joint pain and returning people to activities they enjoy.
Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, but the small joints in the fingers are the most commonly affected. Finger joints are essential for many activities, and arthritis in this area can cause significant joint damage and deformity. Finger joint replacement can relieve pain from arthritis and improve motion at the joint, resulting in less pain. Joint replacement for fingers may be considered for older adults when other treatments have not been effective in relieving pain.
Hip replacement is one of the most common joint replacements performed in the United States. Because the joint is so large and gets so much use, it wears down faster than others. Arthritis in the hip can make walking, standing and even sitting uncomfortable. The hip can be partially or totally replaced, depending on the extent of damage to the bones.
The knee is the largest joint in the body and it’s used constantly, bearing our full weight; we can hardly move without engaging our knee. This is one of the reasons it ages faster than other joints, with arthritis laying claim to it more than any other ailment. The knee can be partially or totally replaced, depending on the damage that exists.
The shoulder can be victim to repetitive arm movements that make arthritis worse, such as golf, tennis, knitting, swimming or gardening. When arthritis takes over in this joint, even hugging someone can be painful or impossible. Shoulder joints can be partially or totally replaced. Because the shoulder is not a weight-bearing joint (like the hip or knee), recovery is often quicker.
Joint replacement surgery in the wrist is less common than knee or hip replacement, but can be an option if you have painful arthritis that does not respond to other treatments. In wrist joint replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the wrist bones are removed and replaced with artificial components, called a prosthesis. The typical candidate for this surgery has severe arthritis but does not need to use the wrist to meet heavy demands in daily use.