When searching for the main causes of joint replacement surgery, different types of arthritis come up time and again. If it's Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid arthritis, these main types of arthritis are the leading causes for joint replacement surgery, mainly hip, knee or wrist.
Joint replacement surgery is performed when all other treatments have failed to help the patient and the pain has become intolerable, or he can no longer function normally on a daily basis. Patients reach this situation when the cartilage, which serves as a protective cushioning between two or more bones, becomes damaged and the tissues around the joint become inflamed. With time, the cartilage wears away, allowing the bones to rub against each other.
As mentioned, surgery is never the first option in case of joint arthritis. The patient will first be treated with pain medication, physiotherapy or special activity exercises. Only when these are no longer efficient, will the orthopedist bring up the surgical options.
The most common type of arthritis that leads to joint replacement surgery is Osteoarthritis. Also known as 'degenerative arthritis', osteoarthritis referrers to the degradation of the joints (mainly hip, knee, wrist and spine) and can cause them to swell up, become red, stiffen or become more tender. These symptoms usually appear gradually. Osteoarthritis is caused mainly by the aging process but can also be triggered by injury or obesity.
Another main cause for joint replacement surgery is Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammation disease. This is an auto-immune disease mainly targeting the lining of the joints. This kind of arthritis usually causes stiffness and swelling while the inflamed lining can invade and damage bone and cartilage.
It is important to know that people live with arthritis and successfully manage the main with combined types of treatments. When it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, there are even encouraging statistics showing that small numbers of patients go into remission in the first stages of the disease. However, when symptoms start affecting the patient's day-to-day life and keep him from functioning normally, it is recommended they undergoes surgery.
The term 'Joint Replacement Surgery' incorporates different types of surgery. The main types include knee and hip replacement but the term also referrers to wrist, ankle, foot, shoulder and elbow replacement surgery. The extent of your surgery will depend on the extent of the problem and severity of the arthritis.
In a hip replacement surgery, there is a total hip or partial hip replacement, also known as Hip Resurfacing, in which only part of the joint is replaced. When there is arthritis in the knee, if not severe the orthopedic may suggest a torn meniscus surgery or knee arthroscopy (relatively minor surgeries). If the arthritis is severe, a Partial Knee Replacement operation - also might be the solution. This less invasive knee replacement requires decreased healing time and is considered less painful. The total knee replacement includes the complete removal of the entire cartilage; the partial replacement removes only the damaged area of the cartilage. The rest of the joint replacement surgeries basically have similar options of partial and total joint removal and replacements.
When consulting your orthopedic specialist about surgery, it is important to not rush in to the operation without making sure you have tried all other non-surgical treatments, what type of procedure is recommended and why and how will this specific procedure help the problem.