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Replacement arthroplasty [from Greek arthron, joint, limb, articulate, + -plassein, to form, mould, forge, feign, make an image of], or joint replacement surgery, is a procedure of orthopedic surgery in which the arthritic or dysfunctional joint surface is replaced with an orthopedic prosthesis. Joint replacement is considered as a treatment when there is severe joint pain or dysfunction is not alleviated by less-invasive therapies.
Joint replacement surgery is becoming more common with knees and hips replaced most often. As of 2009, about 773,000 Americans have a hip or knee replaced each year".
Stephen S. Hudack, a surgeon based in New York City, began animal testing with artificial joints in 1939. By 1948, he was at the New York Orthopedic Hospital (part of the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center) and with funding from the Office of Naval Research, was replacing hip joints in humans.
Two previously[when?] popular forms of arthroplasty were: (1) interpositional arthroplasty', with interposition of some other tissue like skin, muscle or tendon to keep inflammatory surfaces apart and (2) excisional arthroplasty in which the joint surface and bone were removed leaving scar tissue to fill in the gap. Other forms of arthroplasty include resection(al) arthroplasty, resurfacing arthroplasty, mold arthroplasty, cup arthroplasty, and silicone replacement arthroplasty. Osteotomy to restore or modify joint congruity is also a form of arthroplasty.
In recent decades the most successful and common form of arthroplasty is the surgical replacement of a joint or joint surface with a prosthesis. For example, a hip joint that is affected by osteoarthritis may be replaced entirely (total hip arthroplasty) with a prosthetic hip. This procedure involves replacing both the acetabulum (hip socket) and the head and neck of the femur. The purpose of doing this surgery is to relieve pain, to restore range of motion and to improve walking ability, leading to the improvement of muscle strength.
- Osteoarthritis (OA)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Avascular necrosis (AVN) or osteonecrosis (ON)
- Congenital dislocation of the hip joint (CDH)
- Acetabular dysplasia (shallow hip socket)
- Frozen shoulder & Loose shoulder
- Traumatized and malaligned joint
- Joint stiffness
Before major surgery is performed, a complete pre-anaesthetic work-up is required. In elderly patients this usually would include ECG, urine tests, hematology and blood tests. Cross match of blood is routine also, as a high percentage of patients receive a blood transfusion. Pre-operative planning requires accurate Xrays of the affected joint, implant design selecting and size-matching to the xray images (a process known as templating).
A few days' hospitalization is followed by several weeks of protected function, healing and rehabilitation. This may then be followed by several months of slow improvement in strength and endurance.
Early mobilisation of the patient is thought to be the key to reducing the chances of complications such as venous thromboembolism and Pneumonia. Modern practice is to mobilize patients as soon as possible and ambulate with walking aids when tolerated. Depending on the joint involved and the pre-op status of the patient, the time of hospitalization varies from 1 day to 2 weeks, with the average being 4–7 days in most regions.
Physiotherapy is used extensively to help patients recover function after joint replacement surgery. A graded exercise programme is needed initially, as the patients' muscles take time to heal after the surgery; exercises for range of motion of the joints and ambulation should not be strenuous. Later when the muscles have healed, the aim of exercise expands to include strengthening and recovery of function.
Risks and complications
The Stress of the operation may result in medical problems of varying incidence and severity.
- Heart Attack
- Venous Thromboembolism
- Increased confusion
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- Mal-positioning of the components
- Loss of range of motion;
- Fracture of the adjacent bone;
- Nerve damage;
- Damage to blood vessels.
- Loosening of the components: the bond between the bone and the components or the cement may break down or fatigue. As a result the component moves inside the bone, causing pain. Fragments of wear debris may cause an inflammatory reaction with bone absorption which can cause loosening. This phenomenon is known as osteolysis.
- Polyethylene synovitis - Wear of the weight-bearing surfaces: polyethylene is thought to wear in weight-bearing joints such as the hip at a rate of 0.3mm per year. This may be a problem in itself since the bearing surfaces are often less than 10 mm thick and may deform as they get thinner. The wear debris may also cause problems, as inflammation can be caused by increased quantities of polyethylene wear particles in the synovial fluid.
There are many controversies. Much of the research effort of the orthopedic-community is directed to studying and improving joint replacement. The main controversies are
- the best or most appropriate bearing surface - metal/polyethylene, metal-metal, ceramic-ceramic;
- cemented vs uncemented fixation of the components;
- Minimally invasive surgery.
Specific joint replacements
- Patient Information from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
- Patient Information from the FDA
- P. Benum; A. Aamodt; and K. Haugan Uncementeed Custom Femoral Components In Hip Arthroplasty
- Joint Replacement Treatments
- Finkelstein, JA; Anderson, GI; Richards, RR; Waddell, JP (1991). "Polyethylene synovitis following canine total hip arthroplasty. Histomorphometric analysis". The Journal of arthroplasty. 6 Suppl: S91–6. PMID 1774577.