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Most Common Types of Joint Replacement Surgery

Feb 6, 2015

Joint replacement surgery is a safe procedure that many patients undergo to relieve pain and restore their quality of life. If you’re dealing with pain and limited range of motion in a joint, it’s important that you’re treated properly so you can live the life you want to live. Be sure to see your doctor to determine if joint replacement surgery is right for you.

Below are the most common types of joint replacement surgeries. Keep reading to learn more about these surgeries to see if one of them is the right choice for you.

Total Knee Replacement

The knee is the largest joint in the body, and having healthy knees is crucial for performing everyday activities like walking. It’s comprised of the lower end of the femur, the upper end of the tibia, and the patella, which is also known as the kneecap.  The knee can become severely damaged from an injury or arthritis, making it impossible to complete regular activities.

In a total knee replacement, the surgeon will remove the damaged cartilage surfaces at the ends of the femur and tibia, and then replace them with metal components to provide new surfaces inside the joint. A spacer is also inserted between the metal components to allow the joint to glide smoothly.

Knee replacement is usually recommended when you have limited movement in your knee, chronic knee inflammation, a knee deformity, or when non-surgical methods haven’t provided any pain relief.

Total Hip Replacement

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint that is also one of the largest joints in the body. Both the ball and socket are covered in articular cartilage that can wear down from arthritis or injury and cause pain.

During a total hip replacement, the damaged femoral head (the ball of the joint) is removed and replaced with a metal stem that attaches to the bone. A metal bone is then placed on the upper part of the stem. The damaged surface of the socket is replaced with a metal socket, and a spacer is inserted between the implants to help the joint glide easily just like in a knee replacement.

Your doctor may recommend surgery if your pain limits your movement, continues during rest, if you’re experiencing stiffness, and after non-surgical methods were ineffective in providing relief.

Shoulder Joint Replacement

The shoulder consists of three different bones: the upper arm bone or the humerus, the shoulder blade or the scapula, and the collarbone or clavicle. The shoulder is another example of a ball-and-socket joint, and the cartilage surfaces of the ball and socket are supposed to glide smoothly against each other when you move your shoulder.

If this cartilage wears down as a result of arthritis, a rotator cuff injury, or severe fracture, you may have to undergo shoulder replacement surgery. Your surgeon will determine if you need to have a total shoulder replacement, or if you only need the ball or just the socket replaced. Because the shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, the surgical procedure will be similar to that of a hip replacement.

If you are dealing with joint pain, seek treatment today to find the relief you deserve. Joint replacement surgery is safe and will have you feeling like your old self again before the injury. To find out how to choose an orthopaedic surgeon, download our e-book, How to Choose an Orthopaedic Surgeon. This educational guide will provide you with all you need to know about selecting a reputable surgeon.