The decision to have a joint replacement is a big step involving major surgery and significant rehabilitation times. Patients will need to work closely with their surgeon and physical therapist for a return to full functionality and the new lease on life that a joint replacement can provide.
Knee and hip joints make up the majority of replacements, but the ankle, elbow, shoulder and wrist joints can also be replaced. During the procedure, the damaged portion of the joint will be removed and replaced with a ceramic, plastic or metal device that allows the joint to work normally.
A number of conditions can cause deterioration of a joint or the surrounding cartilage resulting in pain and disability, the most common of which is osteoarthritis. Joint replacement is typically the final option when medication, physical therapy, or changes in lifestyle don’t provide sufficient relief from pain and the risk of disability.