Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to restore the function of a joint. A joint can be restored by resurfacing the bones. An artificial joint (called a prosthesis) may also be used.
Various types of arthritis may affect the joints. Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is a loss of the cartilage or cushion in a joint, and is the most common reason for arthroplasty.
Arthroplasty is a Latin term that translates to “reforming of joint.” With that said, this is an orthopedic surgical procedure where the articular surface of a joint is replaced, remodeled, or realigned by osteotomy or some other procedure. When our doctors perform the osteotomy, they are cutting the bone to shorten or lengthen it to help with the realignment.
Arthroplasty may be used when medical treatments no longer effectively relieve joint pain and disability. Some medical treatments for osteoarthritis that may be used before arthroplasty include:
- Anti-inflammatory medicines
- Pain medicines
- Limiting painful activities
- Assistive devices for walking (such as a cane)
- Physical therapy
- Cortisone injections into a knee joint
- Viscosupplementation injections (to add lubrication into the joint to make joint movement less painful)
- Weight loss (for obese people)
- Exercise and conditioning
It is an elective procedure that is done to relieve pain and restore function to the joint generally after damage due to arthritis or some other type of trauma.
Due to the serious nature of this procedure, recovery may be extensive. Careful consultation with a physician is important in order to ensure proper recovery.