Joint replacement is a lifestyle operation designed to relieve the patient pain and optimize the function of the joint.
Joints usually get affected by osteoarthritis or inflammatory diseases which destroy the cartilage layers which in turn cause friction between bones in the joints causing the pain, increase inflammatory reaction and swelling that causes vicious circle of pain and further damage to the joint.
People are sometimes concerned about the materials used for the manufacturing the new joints, but these are made from bio-compatible materials including certain alloys and polyethylene which does not usually react with the body and do not cause any side effect. This was tested on the long run with no significant side effect.
The main indication for any joint replacement whether it is knee, shoulder, elbow or wrist or any other joint is the pain which interfere significantly with activities of daily living. The function and detailed function are another indications when it comes to decide about joint replacement.
We try our best with conservative treatment and surgical procedures before considering joint replacement trying to achieve our goal of pain control and better function but when all methods failed to achieve satisfactory results, we have to consider joint replacement as a the ultimate option for our patient.
Before considering joint replacement we carry out full clinical assessment and assess the need for the surgical procedure on functional measures and then we follow that with certain investigation including X-Rays, possible CT scan or an MRI scan, or sometimes an Arthroscopy to the joint to see if we can achieve some improvement to the joint before considering the final stage which is the joint replacement.
Some other methods of conservative treatment including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, joint injections with steroid, hylodronic acid or PRP also can be tried in many occasions trying to delay the joint replacement procedure.
Joint replacements nowadays are straight forward procedure due to the advance technique and advance manufacturing and bio materials used to manufacture these joints. There is still risk of complication which lies in the region of 2-3% including infection, thrombosis, loosening of the joint, or joint instability. The major complication also can happen but it is very rare with the advanced surgical technique available nowadays.
It is very essential that the patient follow proper rehabilitation program and monitor the soft tissue healing and the joint movement and function after the joint replacement surgery to avoid any medium to long term complication. This will be taken care of with our rehabilitation and physiotherapist team, who assess the patient function, activities of daily living and any support required during his post-operative period.