If you are in need of a hip or knee replacement, you can rest assured that our joint replacement surgeons have the highest level of training and are experts within their specialty, utilizing state-of-the-art equipment for both diagnosis and treatment. When possible, our surgeons treat your condition with the appropriate non-surgical approach, but often at this stage joint replacement surgery is required.
If your knee or hip is severely damaged by arthritis or injury, it may be hard for you to perform simple activities such as walking or climbing stairs, getting up and down from chairs or in and out of the car. You may even begin to feel joint pain while you’re sitting or lying down. If medications, changing your activity level, and using walking supports are no longer helpful, you may want to consider total joint replacement surgery. Replacing a joint or utilizing other significant surgical procedures your pain can be relieved, helping you resume your normal activities.
One of the most important orthopedic surgical advances of this century, joint replacement, was first performed in 1968. Improvements in surgical materials and techniques have greatly increased its effectiveness over time. About 267,000 total knee replacements and 68,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States. Similar surgeries are performed for elbow and shoulder replacements as well.
Arthritis. The most common cause of chronic joint pain and disability is arthritis. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis are the most common forms of this disease.
Osteoarthritis usually occurs after the age of 50 and often in an individual with a family history of arthritis. The cartilage that cushions the bones of the joint softens and wears away. The bones then rub against one another causing joint pain and stiffness.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease in which the synovial membrane becomes thickened and inflamed, producing too much synovial fluid which over-fills the joint space. This chronic inflammation can damage the cartilage and eventually cause cartilage loss, pain and stiffness.
Post Traumatic Arthritis can follow a serious knee injury. A knee fracture or severe tears of the knee’s ligaments may damage the articular cartilage over time, causing knee pain and limiting knee function.
Is Joint Replacement For You?
The decision whether to have total joint replacement surgery should be a cooperative one between you, your family, your family physician, and your orthopedic surgeon.
Do you experience these symptoms?
- You suffer from severe knee or hip pain that limits your everyday activities, including walking, going up and down stairs, and getting in and out of chairs.
- You suffer moderate or severe pain while resting, either day or night.
- You suffer chronic joint inflammation and swelling that doesn’t improve with rest or medications.
- You have a knee deformity—a bowing in or out of your knee.
- You have severe joint stiffness—an inability to bend and straighten your knee.
- You failed to obtain pain relief from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- You failed to substantially improve with other treatments such as cortisone injections, physical therapy, or other surgeries.
Most patients who undergo total joint replacement are age 60 to 80, but we evaluate patients individually. Recommendations for surgery are based on a patient’s pain and disability, not age. Patients as young as age 16 and older than 90 have undergone successful total joint replacement procedures.
Realistic Expectations About Surgery
More than 90 percent of individuals who undergo total knee replacement experience dramatic reduction of knee pain and a significant improvement in the ability to perform common activities of daily living. But total knee replacement won’t make you a super-athlete or allow you to do more than you could before you developed arthritis.
Following surgery, you will be advised to avoid some types of activity for the rest of your life, including jogging and high impact sports.
With normal use and activity, every knee replacement develops some wear in its plastic cushion. Excessive activity or weight may accelerate this normal wear and cause the knee replacement to loosen and become painful. With appropriate activity modification, knee replacements can last for many years.