Arthroplasty is an orthopedic surgery that replaces a joint, which is arthritic, cancerous, or destructive, with an artificial joint in order to restore movement and relieve the patient of the pain. A joint in the hip or the knee are the most popular types of arthroplasty surgery, and shoulder and finger arthroplasty are also common. Patients with osteoarthritis, which causes the loss of cartilage or cushion in the joint, are usually the ones in need of the surgery. Arthroplasty is the very last solution for people suffering from joint pain. Before resorting to surgery, patients usually try pain medications, physical therapy, cortisone injections into the joint, and a certain amount of exercise and conditioning.
The actual surgery is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia or just under local anesthesia. Of course the length and seriousness of the surgery depends upon which joint is getting replaced. One of the more serious surgeries is the total hip arthroplasty, which involves the replacement of the entire hip joint with a prosthetic hip. The incision is made in the joint area and after the joint is replaced the surgeon will either use stitches or surgical staples to close the incision.
The hospital allows patients to stay at least a few days after the arthroplasty surgery. Doctors stress the importance of moving the joint right after surgery and a physical therapist will help patients with a rehabilitation regime. Medication is given in order to relieve patients from the pain so that they will be able to exercise. It is very important for the patient to continue to follow the exercise routine once released from the hospital.
There are numerous risks and complications associated with arthroplasty that patients need to be aware of. Directly following the surgery patients could develop an infection or a dislocation of the joint. In the long term patients can experience persistent pain, weakness, or osteolysis.
Arthroplasty is an extremely expensive surgery in the United States or in the United Kingdom. For this reason there are many people traveling abroad to have the procedure. The cost of the surgery in either India or Thailand is around half as much as it would cost in the United States or the United Kingdom. In the United States alone there are a little over 700,000 arthroplasty surgeries performed each year. Twenty million people in the United States suffer from osteoarthritis and it is the most severe cases that require arthroplasty surgery.