When you have a joint so swollen and stiff that walking, climbing stairs, taking a bath, getting in and out of chairs, or even sleeping is difficult, you may need your joint or joints evaluated. If, with your doctor’s guidance, you’ve tried the laundry list of non-invasive arthritis treatments — modification of exercise regimen, joint immobilization via strapping bracing or cast, physical therapy, or taking pain medications — and you’re still in a desperate state, joint arthoplasty vs. joint replacement, may be the arthritis pain relief solution for you.
Arthroplasty is surgery done to reconstruct or replace an arthritic or dysfunctional joint. For Osteoarthritis, outpatient arthroplasty can be done to restore function or correct a deformed joint. Bones in a joint can be reshaped, or all or part of the joint can be replaced with metal or plastic parts.
Who Is a Candidate for Arthroplasty?
- Arthroplasty will not cure rheumatoid arthritis, nor will it stop disease activity. However, if a joint is badly diseased surgery may provide pain relief and improve function. Arthroplasty can relieve pain and restore function in a joint, thus allowing a person to perform normal daily activities. Outpatient arthroplasty is considered when:
- Symptoms can no longer be controlled with medicine, joint injections, physical therapy, and exercise
- Pain from arthritis can no longer be tolerated
- You are not able to do normal daily activities
- Narrowing of the joint space or wearing away of the cartilage and bone is causing severe pain or reduced range of motion
After the Procedure
Risks of arthroplasty include common risks of surgery including but not limited to:
- Infection developing in the artificial joint (requires removal of the artificial joint and treatment of the infection)
- Development of blood clots (thrombophlebitis)
- Loosening of the joint
Depending on the joint, rehabilitation may take several weeks to several months. Success of arthroplasty depends in part on whether a person follows a rehabilitation program after surgery.