Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which parts of a damaged joint are removed and replaced with a metal, plastic, or ceramic device called a prosthesis. The prosthesis is designed to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint.
Dr. Hoffman is experienced in rapid recovery hip and knee joint replacements.
Anatomy of the Joint
A joint is a point where two or more bones come together. There are three main types of joints in the body:
- Fixed joints, which don’t move (examples include the joints between the bones of the skull)
- Partial movable joints, which allow only a limited range of motion (such as the joints between the vertebrae in the spine)
- Movable joints, which have a greater range of motion and include hinge joints (such as the knee), ball-and-socket joints (such as the hip), and gliding joints (found in the wrist).
Joints are held together by ligaments, which are strong, flexible bands of tissue. Joints also have a thin layer of tissue called articular cartilage that covers the ends of the bones and helps them move smoothly over one another.
When Total Joint Replacement is Necessary
Several conditions can cause joint pain and disability and lead patients to consider joint replacement surgery. In many cases, joint pain is caused by damage to the cartilage that lines the ends of the bones (articular cartilage)—either from arthritis, a fracture, or another condition.
If medications, physical therapy, and/or activity modifications do not relieve your pain and disability, Dr. Hoffman may recommend joint replacement.
During joint replacement surgery, Dr. Hoffman will make an incision over the joint to be replaced. The damaged cartilage and bone are then removed from the ends of the bones. The new prosthesis is then inserted into place and attached to the bone with special screws or cement.
In some cases, a metal cap may be placed over the end of the thighbone (femur) or shinbone (tibia). A plastic or metal sleeve may also be used to line the socket.
After total joint replacement surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room where you will be monitored for a short period of time.
Recovery and rehabilitation will be different for each person. Most patients are ready for discharge home within 24 hours of surgery. In general, during your hospital stay, you will receive pain medication and antibiotics to help prevent infection. You will also begin physical therapy to regain range of motion and strength in your new joint.
After you are discharged from the hospital, you will continue physical therapy at home. Recovery times vary, but most people need four to six weeks before they can return to their normal activities.
Dr. Hoffman will see you several times during your recovery to make sure that you are healing properly and to adjust your medication if needed. He will also talk to you about when it is safe for you to return to your normal activities.
Total joint replacement surgery is a big decision, and you must understand all of the risks and benefits before you proceed. Dr. Hoffman will make sure that you are as informed as possible so that you can make the best decision for your health.
If you have any questions about total joint replacement surgery, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hoffman, please contact our office at 435-787-2000.