Joint replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces damaged joint parts with artificial pieces, or prosthetics. The artificial joints are typically made from metal, ceramic, and/or plastic materials.
These artificial pieces replace the damaged joints so that the body can function normally again. Some common places for joint replacement surgery are the knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, ankle, and wrist. Older people are more likely to have broken bones in these areas than younger people.
Is Joint Replacement Okay for Older People?
Age is a factor that surgeons consider when determining whether it’s the right procedure for a patient, but it’s not the only factor – nor even the most important one. Young patients are often not recommended for joint replacement surgery because of the typical lifespan of artificial implants.
Prosthetic joints – regardless of what material they are made of – have a limited lifespan, and so they must be replaced after a certain number of years. This means that a young patient will likely need another replacement surgery, called a “revision surgery,” after several years to replace the original prosthesis.
Young patients are also often disqualified for joint replacement surgery because they live more active lifestyles, and so they are likely to wear down the artificial pieces far more quickly than an elderly patient will.
Factors to Consider in Joint Prosthetics
In addition to a person’s age, the following factors are also very important in deciding whether to have prosthetic joint surgery:
Generally, if the damaged joint is having a debilitating effect on the patient’s life and is preventing them from taking part in daily activities without severe pain, joint replacement surgery will likely be recommended when other treatments have failed. This would apply to a 40-year-old patient just as much as to an 80-year-old.
Existing Medical Conditions
Patients with certain medical conditions that negatively impact the person’s bone health may not be right for joint replacement. An example is osteoporosis.
Bones naturally have tiny holes throughout, but osteoporosis makes these holes larger – which can cause the bone to be too weak to support an artificial implant. In cases like this, joint replacement surgery may not be recommended.
Additionally, joint replacement surgery is a significant procedure that can take a toll on the body and requires extensive rehabilitation. Therefore, other existing medical conditions that may increase the risk of complications during or after the procedure may disqualify a patient from getting joint replacement surgery.
Orthopedic Surgeon in Little Rock
Esteemed orthopedic doctor Dr. William Hefley treats many different types of musculoskeletal conditions using a variety of treatment methods, including joint replacement surgery. If you suffer from joint pain and would like to explore treatment solutions to find relief, contact Bowen Hefley Orthopedics.
Dr. Hefley and his team are highly skilled and experienced in joint reconstruction surgery as well as alternative therapies, such as PRP (platelet-rich plasma) and stem cell therapies. We also offer a full range of physical therapy treatment for sports injuries, accident injuries, and age-related orthopedic issues.
Call us today at (800) 336-2412 to schedule a consultation. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to helping you get back in the game.