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Joint Surgery for Osteoarthritis: An Overview

Joint Surgery Is Option When Other Treatments Fail

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Updated January 21, 2011

Joint surgery is considered a last resort treatment option, after all conservative treatments have failed. If you have pain and loss of joint function that affect your ability to work or do usual daily activities, that's a sign you need to consider joint surgery. It's essential that you learn what to expect before, during, and after joint surgery. You need to discuss with your doctor which type of joint surgery is appropriate for you -- not every joint surgery is a total joint replacement. A basic summary of your joint surgery options follows.

Total Knee Replacement - What You Need to Know
Every year in the United States alone, more than 300,000 knee replacements are performed, and the number is expected to increase 525% by the year 2030. Knee replacement is a very successful and popular surgical procedure.

Total Knee Replacement vs. Partial Knee Replacement
In some knee osteoarthritis patients, only one compartment of the knee is affected - typically the medial compartment. A partial or unicondylar knee replacement surgery replaces only the affected compartment of the knee -- as opposed to a total knee replacement which replaces all three compartments of the knee.

Total Hip Replacement - What You Need to Know
Every year in the United States alone, more than 285,000 hip replacements are performed, and the number is expected to double to about 573,000 by the year 2030. Find out what you need to know about hip replacements.

Hip Revision - What You Need to Know
The most common reasons for hip revision include implant dislocation, implant loosening, or infection. The design of the prosthesis, surgical technique, and the way the implant is originally placed can also be what makes revision necessary.

What Is Joint Replacement Surgery?
Joint replacement surgery involves cartilage being removed from both sides of a joint, then the joint is replaced with a prosthesis (an artificial joint made of metal, plastic, or ceramic).

What Is Arthrodesis?
Arthrodesis is a surgical procedure which fuses the bones that form a joint, essentially eliminating the joint. The procedure is commonly referred to as joint fusion.

What Is Arthroscopy?
An orthopedic surgeon inserts an arthroscope through one of three small incisions made in your skin. The arthroscope contains a small lens and lighting system to allow illumination and magnification of structures inside the joint. The arthroscope can be attached to a television so the images are larger and more clearly visible. With arthroscopy, the surgeon detects injury or damage and can then decide if surgical repair is possible through the other accessory incisions that were made to accommodate other surgical instruments.

What Is An Osteotomy?
Osteotomy is a surgical procedure that involves bone-cutting. The surgeon removes a wedge of bone located near the damaged joint. The procedure is supposed to cause a shift of weight from the area where there is cartilage damage to an area where there is more normal or healthy cartilage.

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