There are various types of joint replacement surgery that can be performed by a skilled surgeon. Hip replacement surgery and knee replacement surgery are two of the most common procedures performed in the field of joint replacement. Shoulder replacement surgery is also fairly common. Another type of artificial joint replacement surgery involves operations on the joints of the fingers and toes. Elbow joint replacement is yet another type and it is also known as arthroplasty.
Many patients elect to have joint replacement surgery in an effort to restore mobility and improve function. Joints that have been damaged due to chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can severely limit the degree of motion and flexibility in certain individuals. If degeneration of muscle and cartilage surrounding the joints occurs, the patient may lose all functionality over a period of time.
There are different types of material used in the manufacture of artificial joints. A cement type of material can adhere to the bone, while another type of porous material can be used without the cement-like fixture. Silicone and zirconium are other materials used for joint replacement surgery parts and materials.
There have been developments in knee replacement surgery that allow for a more non-invasive procedure. There is also a procedure known as a unicompartmental knee arthroplasty. This is a partial replacement of the knee joint. Typically performed on arthritis patients who have lost mobility, only the more severely injured areas of a joint are removed and replaced with an artificial part. Recovery time varies, but hospitalization generally is anywhere from four to seven days, depending upon the patient's age and other factors.
Hip replacement surgery is more invasive and generally requires more recovery time and rehabilitation. To reduce the risk of post-operative infection, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed, especially for high-risk patients or the elderly. Blood thinners may also be prescribed after surgery, as well as pain relieving medications.
Conditions such as calcific tendinitis or bursitis can sometimes cause scar tissue and degeneration of shoulder or elbow joints. This type of condition is often seen in professional athletes, such as baseball players and tennis players. If severe enough, shoulder or elbow replacement surgery may be suggested. The same type of joint replacement may be indicated for accident victims who have lost the function of an arm, or the shoulder.
Arthritis patients, as well as accident victims who have limited mobility of a finger or toe joint may elect to receive joint replacement surgery of a finger or toe. This may be crucial in helping the patient recover use of a hand or the ability to walk properly. While silicone has been the primary implant material, new advances and breakthroughs in technology may pave the way for a more effective component in the future.