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As an orthopedic surgeon, I understand that joint replacement surgery can be a daunting prospect for many patients. However, it can also be a life-changing procedure that can help alleviate chronic pain and improve your quality of life. In this blog post, I will briefly explain what joint replacement surgery is, when it is necessary, and what patients can expect before, during, and after the procedure.

What is Joint Replacement Surgery?

Joint replacement surgery is a surgical procedure that involves removing damaged or diseased parts of a joint and replacing them with artificial components, called prostheses. The prostheses are designed to mimic the natural movement of the joint and can be made of materials like metal, plastic, or ceramic. There are many joints that can be replaced but for the purposes of this blog we will mainly focus on hip and knee replacements (and some shoulder too!).

When is Joint Replacement Surgery Necessary?

Joint replacement surgery is usually recommended when a joint is severely damaged or diseased and other treatments, like medication or physical therapy, are no longer effective. Common reasons for joint replacement surgery include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and joint injuries.


Before the Procedure Before the procedure, your orthopedic surgeon will conduct a thorough medical evaluation and may order tests like X-rays, blood tests, or an MRI. You will also be asked about your medical history, including any medications you are currently taking. Your surgeon will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare for the surgery, which may include avoiding certain medications or fasting for a period of time before the procedure.

During the Procedure Joint replacement surgery is typically performed under anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the procedure. Your surgeon will make an incision to access the affected joint and remove the damaged parts. They will then carefully place the prostheses in the joint and close the incision.

After the Procedure After the procedure, you will either be able to go home the same day or may need to stay in overnight in a hospital to recover. Your surgeon will provide you with instructions on how to care for the incision site and manage any pain or discomfort. Physical therapy will be an important part of your recovery, as it can help you regain strength and mobility in the affected joint.

Joint replacement surgery is a safe and effective option for many patients with severe joint pain or damage. It is important to keep in mind that joint replacement surgery is a major procedure and there are risks involved, including infection, blood clots, and problems with the prostheses. However, the vast majority of patients who undergo joint replacement surgery experience significant improvement in pain and mobility. If you are considering joint replacement surgery, talk to your orthopedic surgeon to learn more about the procedure and what you can expect. Your surgeon will be able to answer any questions you have and help you make an informed decision about your treatment options.