Is the pain in your knee, hip, or shoulder preventing you from completing your daily tasks? Does the pain keep you up at night? Does it keep you from participating in activities that you enjoy? If so, you may have thought about joint replacement surgery, but you probably have questions: Which procedures are best? What alternatives should be sought first?
Joint replacement surgery is the removal and replacement of a damaged joint with a new artificial joint. Some or all of the joint may be removed and replaced, depending on your condition. Some advanced surgical procedures, like the MAKO® knee resurfacing procedure, produce results that are similar to joint replacement surgery without fully replacing the joint. In the MAKO®procedure, for example, only the portions of the joint that have degenerated due to osteoarthritis are removed; a small implant is then inserted into the knee to facilitate motion.
Bone is a living tissue, which requires a blood supply and nutrients in order to sustain itself and regenerate. Over time, bone matter may degenerate and become prone to fracturing (osteoporosis), which may lead to joint degeneration. Cartilage is a protein substance that acts as a cushion between bones. The disease of cartilage (osteoarthritis) can also lead to joint degeneration.
Osteoarthritis may cause joint degeneration during old age. However, joints with healthy articular cartilage may degenerate over time if the surrounding ligaments are weak or if the bones bear weight unevenly, creating stress in a particular area of the joint.
Only a physician can answer this question. If you’re having severe joint pain, an orthopedic surgeon may evaluate your joint to see if you’re a candidate. During the evaluation, the physician may test your range of motion, strength, and ask you to describe the pain in your jo