Joint Replacement: Debunking Myths & Misconceptions
Arthroplasty or Joint Replacement is a surgical procedure where whole or part of a damaged joint is replaced by metallic or ceramic prosthesis. The main indication for joint replacement is osteoarthritis (OA). OA may be primary, i.e., age-related wear and tear; an inevitable outcome in every individual. In some patients, OA occurs early depending on their activity levels, muscle strength and bone density. Secondary Osteoarthritis means OA due to some other diseases of the join like avascular necrosis, inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis etc), post traumatic, or congenital joint disorders. This procedure is commonly done for knee, hip, shoulder, but is also applicable for elbow, ankle, wrist. Only the articular surface or the bones are being replaced while muscles and neurovascular structures are left intact. People are often skeptical about opting for surgery but we should be aware that Joint Replacement is the only treatment option in late-stage OA associated with severe pain, deformity and compromised activities of daily living. Alternatively, we can resurface the damaged compartment of the joint or Resurfacing Arthroplasty e.g., shoulder resurfacing, partial or unicondylar knee arthroplasty.
Recent advances in Joint Replacement include improvisations in pre-op optimisation, prehabilitation, precision surgical techniques, cutting-edge least-constraint to fully constrained implants, instrumentation and meticulous post operative care. Owing to the above, Joint Replacement is now one of the most successful surgery of the musculoskeletal system. On-time diagnosis, proper treatment planning, state-of-the-art operation theatre and a skilled surgeon with multidiscipilinary team are fundamental to this most rewarding surgery. Joint Replacement can improve the quality of life dramatically. Its not the length of life that matters, but the quality with which each day is lived. Pain-free mobility is a promise and not just a possibility with joint replacement surgery.