Joint replacement surgery is a surgery where the entire bone or a part of the surrounding structures stop functioning as they should and thus are replaced with artificial parts. Usually, this happens when the bones can no longer glide against one another as the articular cartilages wear out, or from the presence of abnormal joint fluids. This occurs due to many causes that are very common these days; such as rheumatoid arthritis, injury, abnormal bone growth, bone deformity, the death of bone etc.
The affected or abnormal part of the bone or surrounding tissue is then replaced by new parts made of non-corrosive metal, plastic or other carbon-coated materials to prevent infection inside the body. The new pieces, as they are non-corrosive allow the proper movement of the joints without pain. They also increase the range of motion as the replacement parts allow for flexibility in the joints and even improve the exterior look of the said area. Joint replacement surgery is done on the finger, knuckle or wrist joints. Its also done on knees, hips and shoulder on a broader level due to gout, osteoarthritis and so on.
The surgery patient needs to consult with a hand therapist or a physiotherapist for a while after getting joint replacement surgery actually to know how to function with the new implants. It might take a while for said patient to completely gain function of the joint or the affected area depending on the severity of the previous injury and extent of the surgery.
Disadvantages of joint replacement surgery
Unfortunately, even after taking all precaution and using non-corrosive replacements, there is still a chance of infection depending on the pre-existing conditions of the patient’s body. There are also chances of implants failing to work thus causing more joint pain than before, and the implant wearing out in due course of time. In this case, there might be a necessity of conducting another surgery on the affected area. The tissues, blood vessels and nerves around the area might also get damaged after the surgery. Thus, it is advised patients in need of joint replacement surgery seek the professional medical opinion of doctors and undergo every required test before taking the decision. An operation may not be the answer to all patients with joint damage and might require physical therapy. While this process may take longer than surgery, it might be the safer option for some patients. Thus it is suggested in case of any joint-related difficulties one should consult a hand surgeon extensively to choose between surgery and any other alternative remedies.