Your body didn't come with spare parts, but that doesn't mean damaged, worn-out joints can't be replaced.  Joint replacement surgery can relieve pain and restore movement to areas that have become sore and stiff because of injuries or conditions such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Surgeons replace the damaged joint with a new high-tech version that's made of plastic and metal components.

The two most common joint replacement procedures are for teh knees and hips.  But replacements can be done for other joints as well, including shoulders, ankles, wrists, even fingers, says Abbot Kagan, M.D.,  of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).


Bone and Joint Clinic of Treasure Valley
840 S.W. 4th Avenue   Ontario, OR  97914
Phone (541) 889-2899

John Foote, M.D.
Randolph Peterson, M.D.

You're probably the best judge of how joint pain is affecting your life and whether you'd benefit from replacement surgery. 

People should consider the benefit of surgery if pain is keeping them from the things they enjoy, such as walking or playing golf, Dr. Kagan says.  You also might consider it if joint pain interferes with sleeping or doing daily tasks such as bathing, dressing and fixing meals.

While there are risks in any surgery, joint replacements are successful in more than nine out of 10 people, the AAOS reports.  And improvements in both surgical techniques and the materials used for artificial joints reduce the risk of problems.

Generally, a doctor will want you to use your new joint soon after surgery.  Once surrounding tissue and muscle recovers, you'll be able to use the joint for normal activities.

With their new knees or hips, most people return to walking or playing golf without any problems.  More strenuous activities such as tennis or running may be discouraged since they can be hard on artiificial joints.  But you don't necessarily have to rule out your favorite activity and should discuss the possibilities with your doctor.  "We're still getting information about how well newer joints stand up to different activities," Dr. Kagan says.

If you think you might benefit from joint replacement or if you have questions about it, talk to your doctor.


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