A total joint replacement is a surgical procedure that removes and replaces a worn, diseased, or damaged joint with an artificial joint, known as prosthesis, which mimics the function of the natural joint. The most commonly replaced joints are the knee, hip, and shoulder joint. 

Anatomy of a Joint 

A joint is created where the ends of two or more bones meet and are attached with thick tissues. The ends of the bones are covered with a smooth layer of cartilage, allowing the joint to move smoothly without friction or pain. The synovium, a tissue lining, surrounds the joint and produces a fluid to reduce friction and wear on the joint. 

Benefits of a Total Joint Replacement 

Total joint replacement is usually only recommended after less invasive approaches, such as physical therapy or corticosteroid injections, cannot alleviate the symptoms of pain or swelling. The most common benefits of a total joint replacement include: 

  • Pain relief 
  • Return to daily activities 
  • Improved movement and use of the joint 
  • Stabilization of the joint 

How Is a Total Joint Replacement Surgery Performed? 

In a total knee joint replacement surgery, the orthopedic surgeon will replace the entire damaged knee joint with metal and plastic surfaces that are shaped to restore knee movement and function. 

In a total hip replacement surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged femoral head (upper end of the femur) and replaces it with a metal ball and stem fitted into the femur. Then, a plastic socket is implanted into the pelvis, replacing the damaged socket. 

Along with the knee and hip, total joint replacement surgery can be performed in other joints, such as the ankle, shoulder, elbow, foot, and fingers. 

Preparing For a Total Joint Replacement Surgery 

Before the surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will recommend the patient to: 

  • Stop taking medications before the surgery 
  • Be in a physical therapy program to be strong enough at the time of the surgery 
  • Evaluate the discharge plans, physical therapy, and rehabilitation

Possible Complications After a Total Joint Replacement Surgery 

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), nine out of ten patients have a successful total joint replacement surgery. However, patients are expected to tell their orthopedic surgeon about any medical conditions that might affect the surgery.  

To learn more about our approach to total joint replacement surgery, click here or click here to learn more about our board-certified orthopedic surgeons.