The body is an amazing machine, but it can break down due to injury and overuse. Thanks to advancements in medical materials and surgical techniques, joint replacement surgeries are now being done in greater numbers than ever before.
The most common full joint replacement surgeries are done on the knee, hip, and shoulder. And with recent technology, these surgeries can now be done as minimally invasive, outpatient procedures.
Let’s talk about the most popular types of joint replacement surgery and how they work.
Knee Replacement Surgery
For a person who suffers pain from walking, standing, and getting in and out of a chair, a knee replacement can give them back a more pain-free, active lifestyle they once enjoyed.
During a full knee replacement, the surgeon will remove the damaged portion of the knee – from the top of the shinbone (tibia) to the bottom of the thighbone (femur) – and replace it with a metal, polymer, and plastic prosthetic joint. In a partial knee replacement, the doctor will remove and replace only the areas of bone that require replacement rather than the entire joint.
Following knee replacement surgery, patients are usually back on their feet, using crutches, within a day of the surgery. They will begin therapy within the week, and full recovery will take about six months to a year.
Hip Replacement Surgery
A hip replacement can be beneficial for people who suffer from pain caused by the various types of arthritis, from injury to the pelvic region, or from improper development of the hip during childhood.
During hip replacement surgery, Dr. Hefley prefers to preserve the hip capsule in order to reduce recovery time. Following surgery, the patient should be up and walking with a walker or crutches later that day, and they should go home by the next day. They will begin physical therapy soon thereafter.
Recovery generally takes approximately six months to a year, depending on the lifestyle and activity level of the patient.
Shoulder Replacement Surgery
The shoulder is the most complex joint in the body. It offers the widest range of any joint, making it extremely useful but also highly prone to injury.
If the shoulder joint has become badly damaged or movement causes extreme pain, the replacement of the shoulder joint is done to restore the patient’s range of motion and quality of life.
There are two schools of thought regarding the best procedure to use for shoulder replacement surgeries. One is a traditionally modeled anatomical replacement joint, and the second is the reverse shoulder replacement.
Reverse shoulder replacement surgery has seen a large surge recently, where the normal ball-and-socket of the shoulder is reversed: the ball is placed at the shoulder, and the socket is placed atop the humerus – which results in a more stable joint with a fixed fulcrum.
The engineering aspect of the reverse replacement has revealed that this is the better option when there is specific damage to the shoulder joint. This includes a fracture, the failure of a traditional replacement, or severe damage to the rotator cuff.
The recovery from shoulder replacement surgery is roughly similar to the other procedures, taking about six to 12 months.
Orthopedic Surgeon in Little Rock
If you have joint replacement surgery, the new joint should last at least five years, and the joint may need to be addressed again (joint revision surgery) if further damage occurs. This is normal, especially in the case of age-related arthritis.
If you are ready for an evaluation by a skilled orthopedic surgeon, contact Bowen Hefley Orthopedics and take that first step toward rejoining your friends and family in activities. You can call us today at (800) 336-2412 or request a consultation online, and start looking forward to pain-free physical activity again!