Artificial joint replacement
• What Is Arthroplasty?
Guide To Arthritis
Natural Treatment for Arthritis
Types Of Arthritis
Arthritis of the Knee
Arthritis of the Hand
Arthritis of the Shoulder
|Terminology: Arthroplasty is also called joint replacement surgery.
What Is Arthroplasty?
Arthroplasty is a medical surgery to repair a damaged joint. The joint is partly or completely replaced with an artificial joint (called a prosthesis) made of metal or plastic. Hip and knee replacement surgery is the most commonly performed type of arthroplasty with surgery to the ankle, shoulder, elbow, fingers and toes performed less frequently. Arthroplasty is only considered where more conventional methods of treatments have failed to give relief from joint pain or restore joint movement. Some of these other treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, cortisone injections, viscosupplementation injections (injecting lubricant into the joints) and taking glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements.
Although joint replacement surgery has a high rate of success, in about 10 percent of cases the artificial implant will fail. Surgery to replace the implant with new components is called joint revision surgery. It is an extensive operation that requires lots of preplanning and specialized surgical equipment (as well as the hands of a skilled surgeon).
1. The CDC reports over a million arthroplasty operations are performed every year in the United States. Of these:
The goal of surgery is to relieve joint pain and restore movement to the joint by replacing it with an artificial implant. A physical examination, X-ray and possibly CT scan or MRI scan will show the extent of damage to the joint. It will help the doctor determine if the patient is a candidate for surgery. In most cases the patient will be suffering from osteoarthritis, a disease that attacks the joints. Arthroplasty is seen as a treatment of last resort, so it is reserved for the most severely afflicted of patients (about 3 percent of those with osteoarthritis). Very few patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), another common disease that causes chronic crippling joint pain, are candidates for arthroplasty. This is because RA not only affects multiple joints but also other parts of the body such as the immune system.
Your orthopedic surgeon (the doctor who performs the surgery) will make some recommendations, possibly including:
Arthroplasty requires a hospital stay, how long depends on the type of surgery you are having but it is usually several days. The procedure itself can vary according to the practice of the orthopedic surgeon. It is may be performed under general or local anesthesia. An anesthesiologist will discuss your options in advance of surgery. Generally the surgery proceeds as follows:
Surgery is successful in 9 out of 10 cases, and where complications occur they are normally quite treatable. Possible complications include:
For many older patients, yes it is. Newer prosthesis joints have a life of up to 15 or 20 years. Younger patients will require a new joint replacement within their lifetime.
It depends on which surgery you are having. Typically for example a total hip replacement costs between $32,000 and $45,000; although some hospitals offer uninsured patients a discounted rate of between $20,000 and $23,000. Typically knee surgery costs about $35,000. Most joint replacement surgery is covered by health insurance unless it is experimental or specifically excluded from the policy. Even if you are covered by insurance there will still be out of pocket expenses which are on average $2,000 -$3,000. Included in the overall cost you should expect an orthopedic surgeon to perform the initial evaluation, take a medical history and X-rays and possibly other tests such as an MRI scan to check bones and tissues. The doctor will advise you on any surgery preparation such as blood tests and losing weight. Several days rest in hospital after the procedure is also covered.
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