Should I Undergo a Total Joint Replacement for Arthritis?
Those who suffer from osteoarthritis often describe it as debilitating, quality-of-life altering, and mobility-limiting. When joints are severely affected by arthritis, and when one’s quality-of-life drops to a point where you can no longer perform simple, routine daily activities, one potential treatment option is to completely replace the damaged joint with a new, artificial one. This is called an arthroplasty. This may not just reduce or even eliminate the pain in your affected joint, it may even restore proper functioning of the joint. Hip, knee and shoulder arthroplasties are some of the most common surgeries recommended when dealing with osteoarthritis.
In this blog post, Ortho Westmount will provide an overview of what a joint replacement for arthritis involves and who may be a good candidate for this type of procedure.
How does arthritis affect the joints?
Osteoarthritis – widely known as the most common form of arthritis worldwide – is a degenerative illness. It occurs when the cartilage and soft tissue between two joints get worn down or damaged over time. In the knee, it involves the ends of the femur, tibia and the patella (kneecap). In the hip, it involves the cartilage and soft tissue in between and surround the femoral head and its socket located in the pelvis (the acetabulum).
What does a joint replacement for arthritis involve?
Put simply, a total joint replacement – or arthroplasty –for arthritis involves replacing the damaged joint surfaces with artificial components. For example, in hip replacements, the femoral head is removed from the femur and replaced with a metal ball. The pelvic socket is then replicated with an artificial socket either made out of ceramic or high-grade plastic. In knee replacements, damaged portions of the femur, tibia, and patella are replaced with metal surfacing, with a plastic bearing placed in between to ensure a smooth range of motion and rotation of the joint.
Am I a good candidate for a joint replacement for myarthritis?
Although joint replacements provide excellent results and patient satisfaction, they are typically reserved for patients who have exhausted other options in order to minimize the need for future revision procedures. When an orthopedic surgeon is determining whether a joint replacement is right for you, they will assess your joint’s range of motion, stability and strength. Then, they will choose from a variety of joint replacement prostheses and surgical techniques, considering your age, weight, activity level, joint size and shape, and overall health.
The best candidates for an arthritic joint replacement procedure include patients who:
- Have a severe case of arthritis
- Are experiencing significant disruptions to their quality-of-life due to the symptoms of arthritis (severe pain, etc.)
- Have found non-surgical treatment options to be ineffective (i.e. medication, physical therapy, etc.)
- Are willing to follow through with are habilitation program following their surgery.
In general, you may not be a good candidate if:
- You are diabetic
- You are an active smoker
- You are morbidly obese
- You have experienced infections in the affected join sometime in the past
Looking to learn more about joint replacement for arthritis?
As we mentioned above, a joint replacement is only recommended if other non-surgical treatment options have been exhausted, and only if the patient meets certain criteria. If you are suffering from arthritis, and want to learn more about total arthroplasty as a treatment option, the first step is to schedule a consultation [link] with one of our highly-trained orthopedic surgeons at Ortho Westmount.