What Are the Most Common Types of Total Joint Replacement Surgery?

Written By: Dr. Thomas Barrett on December 16, 2022

If you have severe joint pain or stiffness - Total Joint Replacement Surgery may be for you. The knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, wrists, and elbows can all be replaced. However, hip and knee replacements are considered the most common. In 2021 alone, more than two million hip and knee replacement surgeries were performed in the U.S., according to the American Joint Replacement Registry.

Before we go any further - let’s define Total Joint Replacement Surgery: It’s a surgical procedure where an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with a prosthesis device- such as metal, plastic, or ceramic – designed to mimic a normal joint.

While the definition is simple – the process can seem overwhelming. So, let’s break it down.

When to Consider Total Joint Replacement Surgery
Total Joint Replacement Surgery is considered one of the most successful and rewarding medical procedures. There are many factors that may cause joint pain and stiffness – including arthritis, damage, and fracture. Nonsurgical treatments like physical therapy and medications can help the pain, but if those options fail, your doctor may suggest Total Joint Replacement Surgery.

Let's Talk Technology:
Joint Replacement Surgery has been around for more than a century. According to the National Library of Medicine, the first recorded attempt at a hip replacement occurred in 1891!Since then, as you can imagine, a lot has changed. Technological advances, like 'MAKO' are improving replacement surgery and recovery. ‘MAKO’ has transformed total and partial knee/hip replacement procedures by using 3D virtual modeling and robotic-arm precision technology.

Benefits of ‘MAKO’ include:

  • Greater accuracy/precision
  • Less drainage
  • Reduced recovery time
  • Less surgeon/staff fatigue
  • Increased patient satisfaction
The Process of Undergoing Total Joint Replacement Surgery
There are many steps you may need to take in order to undergo Total Joint Replacement Surgery. No two people, or joints, are the same. So, you will get a personalized surgical plan - beginning with a preoperative assessment.

Before Surgery:
These are the steps to take to ensure your Total Joint Replacement is a success.
  1. A surgical liaison will visit your home- to check out the obstacles you may face after surgery. Do you have stairs or a steep driveway? Will your area rugs pose a threat? This expert may also recommend some post-op assistive devices to help you bathe, use the toilet, or get dressed.
  2. You will have pre-op appointment so a physical therapist can evaluate physical readiness for surgery.
  3. You may want to take advantage of a pre-surgery class which can help you and your caregiver prepare for surgery and recovery.
  4. You will also have pre-surgery testing – lab work, EKGs, and X-rays.

Day of Surgery:
You will have a chance to chat with your surgeon about any last-minute concerns. The anesthesiologist will also confirm the anesthetic that will be used on you during surgery.

Like the pre-surgery procedure, there are many steps taken after surgery to ensure a smooth recovery.

  1. You will remain in the hospital for a day or two after your Total Joint Replacement Surgery. During this time your physical therapist will help you to begin using your new joint. You may also be prescribed medication to alleviate any pain.
  2. It’s time to head home, but don’t worry, you won’t be left to your own devices. An expect will come to your home and work with you on exercises to restore full strength and get you back to your normal activity level.
  3. Then, once you get the ‘okay’ from your surgeon, you can transition to outpatient clinic for physical therapy. These visits will help you increase the range of motion and strength of your new and improved joint.
Life After Total Joint Replacement Surgery
The ultimate goal of Total Joint Replacement Surgery is to lower or eliminate your pain level so you can get back to living your best and independent life.

Harvard Medical School estimates a knee or hip replacement will last an average of 10-15 years. Of course, there are joints that can last longer – sometimes up to two decades. While rare, there can be complications which may lead to re-operations.
How To Start the Total Joint Replacement Process
Care New England provides several joint replacement surgeries. Our team of expert nurses, doctors, and surgeons are ready to help you every step of the way from the preparation process before surgery, your surgery, hospital stay and your post-discharge care. Our program is designed with your safety and satisfaction in mind to get the best possible outcome.

For more information on Total Joint Replacement Surgery and to schedule an appointment, Click Here.