Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which parts of an arthritic or damaged joint are removed and replaced with a metal, plastic or ceramic device called a prosthesis. The prosthesis is designed to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint.
In 2011, almost 1 million total joint replacements were performed in the United States. Hip and knee replacements are the most commonly performed joint replacements, but replacement surgery can be performed on other joints, as well, including the ankle, wrist, shoulder, and elbow.
Total joint replacements are helping people of all ages live pain-free, active lives.
Joints are formed by the ends of two or more bones connected by tissue called cartilage. Healthy cartilage serves as a protective cushion, allowing smooth, low-friction movement of the joint. If the cartilage becomes damaged by disease or injury, the tissues around the joint become inflamed, causing pain. With time, the cartilage wears away, allowing the rough edges of bone to rub against each other, causing more pain.
When only some of the joint is damaged, Dr. Bellapianta may be able to repair or replace just the damaged parts. When the entire joint is damaged, a total joint replacement is done. To replace a total hip or knee joint, Dr. B removes the diseased or damaged parts and inserts artificial parts, called prostheses or implants.