Quite often, joint replacement surgery may be the only remaining line of treatment that can help a patient. This is especially true when all other types of treatment including medications and physical therapy have failed to relieve joint pain. Correcting the deformity and thereby help in improving mobility is highly effective in eliminating joint pain. Moreover, joint replacement surgery is a reliable way of treating advanced cases of arthritis. Joint replacement surgery is usually recommended for patients with swelling, stiffness, limited motion, limping, muscle weakness and severe joint pain. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common causes of people seeking joint replacement surgery. While knees and hips are joints which are most often replaced, other joints which can also benefit from this procedure include fingers, elbows, shoulders and ankles.
Also known as prosthesis, artificial joints are made of metal, plastic or ceramic parts. These can either be cemented or non-cemented into place. Sometimes the bone is allowed to grow into and attach to the artificial joint. In some cases, both methods are combined to hold the joint in place. While cemented joints are most often used among older patients and for people with weak bones. Un-cemented joints are generally recommended for younger patients who are more active and for people having good bone quality. It may however take longer for the joint to heal and attach in these cases, since the bone has to grow into the place. Joints which are replaced normally last for 10 – 15 years of time. This is why younger patients may be required to replace the same damaged joint more than one time.
Five main types of Joint Replacement Surgeries usually sought by patients are mentioned below.
Knee Replacement Surgery – There are four main types of knee replacement surgeries which are available to patients.
- Total Knee Replacement is the most common and involves replacing the joint along with surfaces of the shin bone and thigh bone which connect to the knee.
- Partial Knee Replacement is recommended when arthritis affects only one side of the knee joint. Moreover, this is recommended only when patients are having strong knee ligaments.
- Kneecap Replacement is the third type which involves replacing only the undersurface of the knee cap.
- Complex or Revision Knee Replacement procedure is required by patients having severe arthritis or for patients who have already undergone two or three knee replacement surgeries earlier.
Hip Replacement Surgery – Total hip replacement and metal-on-metal hip resurfacing are the two alternatives which patient have involving the hip joint.
- Total Hip Replacement Surgery involves removing part of femur including the head to be fixed by a smaller artificial ball into the remaining thigh bone. Along with this, the acetabulum is roughened up to accommodate the new socket component of the artificial hip joint.
- Metal-on-Metal Hip Resurfacing involves only placing of hollow metal cap over the natural bone ball over the head of the thigh bone. The socket part of the joint is however also resurfaced with a metal component.
Shoulder Replacement Surgery – Four types of shoulder replacement surgery which is available to patients are mentioned below.
- Total Shoulder Replacement is also known as Traditional Shoulder Arthroplasty and involves replacing the original ball and socket surfaces of the shoulder joint with artificial components of the prosthetic joint.
- Reverse Shoulder Replacement is also known as Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty during which the surgeon switches positions of the ball and socket of the shoulder joint with prosthetic components. This procedure is most often recommended for patients with damaged rotator cuffs.
- Partial Shoulder Replacement is also known as Stemmed Hemiarthroplasty and involves removal of only the humeral head portion of the shoulder joint to be replaced by the prosthetic component. Partial shoulder replacement however retains the natural glenoid bone or the natural socket of the joint.
- Shoulder Resurfacing is also known as Resurfacing Hemiarthroplasty and which involves fitting a smooth rounded cap over the damaged humeral head in order to facilitate better motion at the joint.
Elbow Replacement Surgery – Orthopedic surgeons usually recommend this procedure to patients whose elbow joint is damaged by rheumatoid arthritis. Elbow joint replacement procedures involves replacing the joint with two implant components which attach on both sides to bones of the arm.
Ankle Replacement Surgery – There are several prosthetic designs which are available to patients seeking replacement of the ankle joint. Some of the most common types include Agility Ankle, INBONE Total Ankle, Eclipse Total Ankle Replacement, Salto Talaris Anatomic Ankle, Scandinavian Total Ankle Replacement (STAR), Buechel-Pappas Device and the TNK Ankle.
India is an excellent medical tourism destination for international patients who are concerned about the rising cost of healthcare within their homeland. It is not just the quality of surgery and implants in India which are at par with the best in the world, but they are also highly affordable at the same time. In fact, oversea patients can save substantial amounts of their hard earned money by choosing to undergo joint replacement surgery in India, without having to compromise on the quality of treatment.