Aches and pains affect everyone.
Those related to the musculoskeletal system (the bones, muscles and joints that allow us to stand and move) account for about 80% of patient complaints in primary care. Of those, arthritis is the most common, progressive, and unrelenting. Arthritis is a disease of cartilage, which is responsible for the structure and lining of our joints, providing shock absorption and cushioning, as well as smooth motion. There are several factors that contribute to the wear and tear of cartilage, including aging, obesity, trauma, hydration, inflammation and genetics. Once cartilage has worn away, patients often find themselves in an orthopedic office discussing the possibility of a total joint arthroplasty, also known as total joint replacement.
What is joint replacement surgery?
Total joint replacement is one of the most cost-effective and successful surgeries in medicine. The surgery is performed on hips, knees, shoulders, and even ankles, fingers, elbows, or intervertebral discs. During a total knee replacement, the surgeon removes the worn-off cartilage, and resurfaces the joints with a metal alloy implant. This implant gives the patient the smooth movement they once experienced and allows them to return to weight-bearing daily activities. Total hip or total shoulder replacement is a more complex procedure as the hip and shoulder are “ball and socket” joints. During replacement surgery, what is known as an articulating ball is replaced, and implants are inserted into the central canal of the bones.
A “good” surgery involves more than the process of implantation. It also must balance and preserve the tissue, ligaments, and tendons around the joint. This will allow the patient to maintain stability and an appropriate balance of force and strength. Patients struggling with arthritis, deformity, and stiffness can get a new lease on life, but only if surgery is done right.
Even though total joint replacements are highly successful, the need for revision or “redo” surgery has been skyrocketing nationally. The results of surgery and its success are directly dependent on surgeon experience, training, surgical efficiency, and presence of standardized medical care protocols. The total joint replacement surgeons at Newport Hospital are fellowship-trained, spend extra time to learn all details of joint replacement, and keep up with industry best practices.
At Newport Hospital we continually work to optimize total joint care to produce superior outcomes for our patients. We carefully collect information on patient function before surgery, details of the operation, length of hospital stay, repeat visits to the emergency department, and patient function months after their surgery. This data allows precise monitoring of surgeons’ work to make sure our patients receive the best care.
If you need revisions to a joint replacement, our experts are here for you. But of course, we would rather do them for you the first time around. Our goal is to do it once and do it right.
Learn more about total joint replacement and the orthopedic surgery options offered at Newport Hospital at www.lifespan.org/lifespan-orthopedics-institute-newport.
Valentin Antoci, MD, PhD is medical director of the Total Joint Replacement Program at Newport Hospital. He performs total joint replacement surgery at Newport Hospital and at the Total Joint Center at The Miriam Hospital. Health Matters appears monthly on newportri.com and in The Daily News.