An Introduction to Total Arthroplasty – Bare Basics on the Procedure

Total arthroplasty, including subcategories like knee arthroplasty, hip replacement and shoulder surgeries are being increasing used to bring relief to patients who suffer from dysfunctions in their joints.

All About Total Arthroplasty

total arthroplasty

Total arthroplasty involves repairing defective joints surgically

Arthroplasty is basically surgically repairing joints. This can be done in two different ways. The surgeon may restore the joint by resurfacing the bone or an artificial joint or prosthesis may be implanted.

When is Total Arthroplasty Recommended?

  • Total arthroplasty may be recommended for patients who suffer from various kinds of arthritis. For example, patients suffering from osteoarthritis often face disabling pain. Osteoarthritis can affect shoulder joints, hip or elbows. Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis too suffer from severe pain which can be corrected with total arthroplasty. Knee surgery and hip replacement surgery procedures have become common.
  • Total arthroplasty may be the way out for those who dislocated or fractured their hip bone. Surgeons also recommend this surgery for patients who have been diagnosed with frozen or loose shoulders.
  • Total arthroplasty can also be done in cases of osteonecrosis. Osteonecrosis is caused due to poor blood supply to areas around the joint. As a result, the bone ‘dies’. Osteonecrosis affects the hips, shoulders, knee, elbow, wrist and ankle. If the condition is not treated, the joint will continue to deteriorate. For example, osteonecrosis in the knee area can be corrected by knee replacement surgery.
  • Total arthroplasty is also indicated for patients who have acetabular dysplasia. This is a condition where the hip socket is too shallow and therefore the joint cannot function properly. It is a congenital condition. Pain and an audible clicking noise when the joint moves are the symptoms of acetabular dysplasia.
  • This surgical option is also available for patients who have traumatized or misaligned joints. Joint stiffness is a common complaint that comes with old age and can be corrected by total arthroplasty. For example, stiff knees can seriously affect mobility and doctors often recommend total knee replacement surgery to improve mobility.
  • Of course, arthroplasty is not the first option for patients suffering from the above conditions. It is done only when other treatment procedures like the use of anti-inflammatory and pain drugs, cortisone injections and physical therapy fail to provide relief.
Total arthroplasty arthritis

Total arthroplasty can be used in cases of arthritis, dead joints and conditions like dysplasia

What are the Different Types of Total Arthroplasty?

The different types of total arthroplasty include:

  • Interpositional Arthroplasty:

    This procedure involves placing tissue taken from other sites and placing it between the damaged surfaces of the joint. The tissue will keep the damaged surfaces apart and will also act as a false joint.

  • Excisional Arthroplasty:

         In this case, the surgeon removes the area of the joint that is creating the problem.              This creates a space between the bone and the socket, which will be gradually filled            by scar tissue. Excisional arthroplasty helps in relieving pain and restoring motion,              but it also makes the joint less stable.

  • Resection Arthroplasty:

         This involves the removal of one or more surfaces of a joint. It is often used with hip            joint problems. However, it can leave the joint unstable and it also causes the                      extremity to be shortened.

  • Resurfacing Arthroplasty:

         This is being increasingly used in place of total hip replacement surgery. Cobalt                  chrome metal caps and cups are used to replace the articulating surface of the hip            joint in resurfacing arthroplasty.

  • Mold Arthroplasty, Cup arthroplasty and Silicone Replacement Arthroplasty:

         They are basically similar methods where various materials are used to replace the            damaged joints.

What are the Precautions and Aftercare After Total Arthroplasty?

Once the arthroplasty surgery is completed, the patient is often advised to undergo physical therapy. Care must be taken not to destabilize or overstress the joint. The patient is often given a course of antibiotics in order to prevent the risk of infections.

Measures like total arthroplasty are growing more efficient thanks to rapid developments in the field, and these have brought relief to people who suffer from joint disorders.


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