Skip to content

Osteoarthritis Health Center

Surgery for Osteoarthritis Joint Pain

Font Size
A
A
A

Total Joint Replacement (Arthroplasty) for Joint Pain continued...

Here are some signs that joint replacement may be needed:

  • Osteoarthritis joint pain wakes you from sleep, so it's hard to get a good night's rest.
  • No matter how many medications you try, the pain doesn't stop.
  • The pain makes you avoid outings or vacations you would enjoy.
  • Even simple activities around the house are painful, like getting out of a chair or going upstairs.
  • Other normal activities of daily living are difficult due to pain or loss of mobility in the joint.

Benefits and Risks of Total Joint Replacement

More than 90% of people who have joint replacement have satisfactory outcomes. Improvements include:

  • Relief of joint pain when other options haven't worked
  • Better, easier joint movement
  • Realignment of deformed joints, improving their function and appearance

Of course, there are risks with any surgery. Your risk will depend on the type of joint replacement, as well as your:

  • General health
  • Age
  • Nutritional state
  • Bone quality and any bony deformities
  • Blood clots

Discuss your particular risks with your surgeon.

New joints typically last between 10 and 15 years. When they wear out, the joint can be replaced, or a procedure called "revision joint surgery" may be done. In this surgery, special metal and plastic parts are used to replace the joint and any damaged bone.

Some medical conditions can make joint replacement unsuitable including being severely overweight (it may cause the joint to wear out sooner). Besides obesity, these may include:

  • Severe mental, emotional, or neurologic disorders
  • Advanced osteoporosis or another chronic medical condition
  • Conditions that make anesthesia risky, such as heart, lung, and kidney problems and previous blood clots.

What Happens During Total Joint Replacement

Since each type of joint replacement is different, let's assume you're having total knee replacement.

Once you're under general or regional anesthesia, an orthopedic surgeon first resurfaces the knee joint. Next comes replacement of the weight-bearing parts with an artificial joint. The new joint is made of metal, ceramic material, or high-density plastic parts, which may be joined to bone using acrylic cement. The surgery usually takes about two hours or less if there are no complications.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Today on WebMD

elderly hands
Even with arthritis pain.
woman exercising
Here are 7 easy tips.
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
chronic pain
Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
 
Keep Joints Healthy
SLIDESHOW
Chronic Pain Healthcheck
HEALTH CHECK
 
close up of man with gut
Article
man knee support
Article
 
woman with cold compress
QUIZ
Man doing tai chi
Article
 
hand gripping green rubber ball
Slideshow
person walking with assistance
Slideshow