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Joint Replacement Surgery Abroad

Joint Replacement

 Joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty) is an orthopedic procedure performed to replace a dysfunctional joint surface with prostheses. Before joint replacement the medical specialist should exhaust all treatments available for alleviating arthritis pain through less-invasive therapies.

Among the common causes of joint replacement surgery we find:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA)Joint-replacement_Small
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Avascular necrosis (AVN)
  • Congenital dislocation of the hip joint (CDH)
  • Acetabular dysplasia (shallow hip socket)
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Loose shoulder
  • Traumatized Joint
  • Malaligned joint
  • Joint stiffness

Joint Replacement Surgery Basics

Pre-operative procedure for major surgery requires pre-anaesthetic work-up. Some of the common tests perfored are:

  • ECG
  • Urine tests
  • Hematology tests
  • Blood tests
  • Cross match (for blood transfusion)
  • X-rays
  • Implant design or templating

After the joint replacement is accomplished, patients are required to mobilize as much as possible to reduce the risk of complications.

Physical therapy is started after the first week of post-surgery to help patients recover function through strengthening and stretching exercises.

Specific Joint Replacement Procedures

  • Knee replacement – The wear-bearing surface of the knee joint is replaced to relieve disability and pain. It is commonly performed to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. In some cases, ball joint replacement alone is enough to cure the condition.
  • Hip replacement – During this surgery the hip joint is replaced with an implant. It can be total or partial replacement, and is conducted to relieve arthritis pain or to fix physical joint damage. In some cases, only ball joint replacement is required.
  • Thumb joint replacement – This arthroplasty is performed on an outpatient basis. The surgical treatment can consist of a bone fusion and removing part of the joint and reconstructing it using tendon grafts.
  • Toe joint replacement – It is performed when the big toe joint becomes eroded, which leads to limitation of motion (hallux limitus and rigidus).
  • Finger joint replacement – Finger replacement arthroplasty is performed to treat arthritis of the hand. First, the surgeon removes the damaged and deformed joint surface and then accommodates the custom-made implant.
  • Ankle joint replacement – It is performed to replace damaged articular surfaces of the ankle joint with metallic and polymer components. It is a now-a-days preferred treatment, which replaces ankle fusion treatment.
  • Elbow joint replacement – is a less common procedure, performed to treat instability, severe fractures, post-traumatic arthritis, degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Shoulder joint replacement – The damaged or loosened parts are removed and replaced using prostheses. In some cases the head of the humerus bone is replaced and sometimes both the ball and the socked should be replaced.

Joint Replacement Surgery Risks

Among the intra-operative risks and complications for joint replacement we find:

  • Mal-positioning of the components (shortening, instability, dislocation, loss of motion)
  • Fracture
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood vessels damage

As any other surgery, joint replacement also poses the risk of infection. Some other complications may appear in the medium-term including:

  • Dislocation
  • Severe pain
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Weakness

And some other might appear in the long run:

  • Component loosening – which is a natural consequence of wearing. The bond between the bone and the cement fatigues and causes pain.
  • Polyethylene synovitis – due to wear debris builds up from the weight-bearing surfaces, which can cause inflammation.