Types Of Joint Replacement Surgeries
Updated: Apr 25
Joint replacement surgery is a treatment for people with chronic joint pain and mobility issues, and it's usually the last option after non-invasive therapies haven't been successful.
Healthy joints have "articular cartilage" coated with synovial fluid that enables movement. Still, with time, trauma, and various illnesses, the fluid gets reduced, and joint movement becomes painful and stiff.
While any surgery can be intimidating to many people, it can improve a person's life immensely, reduce pain and allow them to go back to living their normal lives.
Depending on each patient's issues, there are various joint replacement surgeries, from knee to hip replacement to shoulder replacement.
Let's look at all the types of joint replacement surgeries and how they can help.
Joint replacement surgery
During the joint replacement surgery, the bone and its lining structures get removed and replaced with plastic, metal, or carbon-coated alternatives (artificial hip, knee, or other joints) that help restore mobility and reduce pain.
Joint replacement surgery helps reduce pain, restore motion, improve joint alignment, and patient's life quality.
Such surgery is also called "arthroplasty," Before suggesting this option for their patient, the doctors thoroughly evaluate each person and weigh the benefits that such surgery may bring versus the possible side effects.
That usually covers age, pain level, anatomy, individual risks of the procedure, recovery, etc.
Total Joint Replacement Surgery
Total joint replacement involves completely removing the affected joint and fully replacing it with artificial implants. This type of surgery is usually performed on patients with injuries or advanced arthritis, and the most common types of total joint replacement are hip, knee, and shoulder replacements.
With today's medical technology, the surgery is most often done as a minimally invasive procedure and has a relatively short recovery time.
Hip Replacement Surgery
Each year more than 300,000 hip replacement surgeries are performed in the U.S. During this surgery, the damaged femoral bone and tissues in the hip joint are replaced with an implant.
The doctor removes the bone during the procedure and works on the socket to prepare it for the prosthesis. After that, they place a prosthetic cup (using medical-grade cement) and line the cup so the joint can move smoothly again. Lastly, the implant is fitted with a prosthetic ball that acts as the femoral bone head.
Sometimes only a partial hip replacement is needed to achieve the desired results. In that case, a hemiarthroplasty is performed, and during the procedure, only the femoral head (the ball) gets replaced. This option is often used for older patients that experienced a hip fracture but whose hip socket is healthy. Be aware that there are some things you should not do after hip replacement surgery.
Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgeries are even more common, and each year there are over 600,000 performed in the U.S.
The knee joint gets replaced with a prosthesis made of medical-grade metal and plastic components during the surgery. Modern prosthetics are very advanced and allow the knee to move smoothly and without any issues.
There are risks involving this surgery and you should not go into it lightly: a sprained knee might just need physical therapy and rest, but for chronic knee pain replacement surgery might be ideal.
Sometimes only partial knee replacement suffices, usually in cases when only one or two parts of the knee (the lateral, medial or patellofemoral compartments) are damaged.
This type of surgery involves removing damaged tissue, resurfacing existing areas, and implanting artificial parts instead of the affected parts. Be aware that there are some things you should not do after knee replacement surgery.
Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Shoulder replacement removes damaged areas of bone and replaces them with parts made of metal and plastic (implants).
About 53,000 people in the U.S. have shoulder replacement surgery each year. If you have chronic shoulder pain at night you might need this surgery eventually.
The surgery is performed when the patient has experienced serious shoulder injuries like a broken bone, a torn rotator cuff, or severe arthritis.
The most common type of surgery is total shoulder replacement when the socket is lined with a plastic surface, the ball at the top of the humerus is replaced with a metal one and attached to the bone.
Sometimes only a partial shoulder replacement is necessary; in that case, only the ball is replaced.
Lastly, a reverse shoulder replacement is also quite common. The surgeon attaches the ball to the shoulder bones, and a socket is implanted at the top of the arm. In short, the location of the ball and socket is reversed, which allows the shoulder to bypass the damaged muscles and tendons.
While surgery is a great way to treat chronic joint pain and increase mobility, often, the doctors will try multiple other treatments before they prescribe it.
Joint preservation helps restore normal and pain-free function to the joint and is a non-surgical means to preserve a deteriorating joint to delay or avoid joint replacement surgery.
There are various methods used to achieve results, including medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Each patient gets evaluated individually and recommended different treatments based on the condition of their joints, age, lifestyle, etc.
Here are the most common non-surgical ways of joint preservation:
Injections. The doctor will inject hyaluronic acid or corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in the lining of the joints. These treatments can be applied to hip joints, knee joints, shoulder joints, and other joints, but results vary.
Cartilage transplant. With this procedure, the patient's cartilage gets replaced. Besides that, doctors can try stimulating the bone to increase cartilage growth. Results also vary.
Platelet-rich plasma. Sometimes doctors will use injections of concentrated plasma to the joints. The plasma includes platelets from the blood that can stimulate tissue repair, reduce inflammation and stimulate cells.
Physical therapy. Professional physical therapists use a number of modalities to improve joint function during therapy sessions.
Physical Therapy After Joint Replacement Surgery
Joint replacement surgery is only a first step in the long process of regaining the abilities and treating pain. Orthopedic physical therapy will help to improve strength, flexibility, reduce pain following the surgery, and ensure the best outcome from the procedure.
At Miracle Physical Therapy, you can schedule a free no-obligation consultation with a therapist in person or over the phone, and we'll explain in detail how we can help you get back to living your life to the fullest.
Learn more about post-surgery rehab here.
Joint replacement surgery can reduce joint pain, increase mobility and improve a person's life immensely, allowing them to return to living their normal lives.
Such surgeries have become common and are minimally invasive, but your doctor will try non-invasive treatments first. A partial joint replacement can also be an effective solution.
Remember that physical therapy is essential after a surgery, so contact Miracle Rehab Clinic and book an appointment. Don’t skip this step or you might regret later.