What is a joint replacement?
Arthroplasty, or joint replacement, is a surgical procedure in which the arthritis is removed and replaced with a metal and plastic joint. We are able to resurface the joint to create pain relief and return to activities. Commonly replaced joints include the hip, knee, and shoulder- all of which I perform.
What is the implant made out of?
The metal is made of titanium and cobalt chrome alloys. These implants can contain nickel, and any nickel allergy should be reported to your surgeon.
What non-surgical treatments are available?
Joint replacement surgery is only considered typically after failing non-operative treatment. These treatments include: Anti-inflammatory medications, injections, activity modification, physical therapy, and occasionally pain medications. Injections are very effective treatment options for short term relief. Steroid injections typically give immediate pain relief. Gel injections (viscosupplementation) can give slower onset but up to 6 months of pain relief. Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP injections are relatively newly studied and can also provide pain relief. None of these treatment eliminates the arthritis, and simply treats the pain.
When should I consider having a joint replacement?
You should consider joint replacement when non-operative care is not giving adequate pain relief and your X-rays show advanced arthritis.
Am I too old to have surgery?
Nobody should be forced to live in joint pain, regardless of age. So long as your medical doctor feels you are healthy enough to undergo surgery, it is a viable option. There is no age cut off for surgery.
How long do joint replacements last?
The literature suggests that many joint replacement surgeries can last 15-20 years.
What happens if my joint replacement wears out or fails?
The joint replacement can be done again if it fails over time: This is called a revision surgery and serve to re-build the joint and removed the worn out components. Patients can still have good outcomes with revision surgery, but the complication rates are higher than the first surgery.