Total Joint Replacement
What is a Joint?
A joint is the point at which two or more bones meet. The knee is considered a “hinge” joint because of its ability to bend and straighten like a hinge found on a door. The shoulder and hip are “ball and socket” joints, where the rounded end of a bone fits into the cup-shaped area of another bone.
What is Total Joint Replacement?
Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure where part or all of an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with a metal, plastic, or ceramic prosthesis. The prosthesis is engineered to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint.
More than one million total joint replacements are performed each year. Hip replacements and knee replacements are the most commonly performed joint replacements. Replacement surgery can also be performed on other joints, including the ankle, elbow, shoulder, and wrist.
When is Total Joint Replacement Recommended?
Many conditions contribute to joint pain and disability, inducing patients to consider joint replacement. In most cases, joint pain is caused by damaged cartilage lining the ends of the bones (articular cartilage) from arthritis, a fracture, or another condition.
When non-surgical treatments like physical therapy, medications, or adjustments to your everyday activities do not provide relief of pain and disability, your doctor may recommend joint replacement.
Where Does the Surgery Take Place?
Total joint replacement surgery may take several hours. The procedure is performed in a hospital or TCO’s ambulatory surgery center.
Mark R. Merrell, MD, is board certified in Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He specializes in the surgical and nonsurgical treatment of most orthopaedic disorders and injuries.
Judd R. Fitzgerald, MD, is fellowship trained in orthopaedic sports medicine and shoulder surgery from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He specializes in the treatment, surgical and nonsurgical, of a variety of orthopaedic conditions.