When good joints go bad, whether through age or injury, it’s fueling a tidal wave of joint replacement surgeries. Led by the artificial knee. Total knee replacement is the top joint replacement surgery.
“Replacing of a knee is really resurfacing the knee. We don’t cut out the knee joint we really resurface a few millimeters of the damaged cartilage and bone, and cap the end. The good parts stay. The ligaments and the muscles and tendons,” says Dr. Ed Humbert, an orthopedic surgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
Nearly 600,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed yearly in the U.S. The next most common joint replacement goes to the hip, with just over 300-thousand performed annually. Commonly the result of a hip fracture or arthritis.
“A hip replacement is when we actually remove the joint, that is remove the femoral ball and grind out the worn out socket and replace the ball and socket with a metal and plastic components,” says Dr. John Kagan, an orthopedic surgeon of Lee Memorial Health System’s medicals staff.
Shoulder replacement is the third most common joint replacement. That includes the reverse shoulder, used in cases of severe arthritis or a massive rotator cuff tear. It swaps the location of the ball and socket.
“This is the reverse shoulder, because now the ball goes on the socket side and the concavity area now goes where the ball was. So this is how the reverse shoulder stem looks,” says Dr, Todd Atkinson, an orthopedic surgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
Arthritis is the number one reason people need a joint replacement. Their cartilage has worn away and the joint is damaged. It can happen to just about anywhere in the body. Less common joint replacements are done on the elbow, ankle, even the thumb.
“Over years of wear and tear, the gliding surfaces of the joint can become more roughened and damaged and therefore cause swelling pain and dysfunction,” says Dr, Dennis Sagini, an orthopedic surgeon of Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
The joint replacement is still considered a treatment of last resort but it’s helping the right patient live stronger, longer.