Joint replacement surgery
Joint replacement, a surgical procedure to remove and replace an arthritic or damaged joint with an artificial joint (called a prosthesis), may be considered only after other treatment options have failed to provide adequate relief from pain and/or disability.
Many factors are used to determine the need for joint replacement surgery. Some of the factors that you and your physician will consider are the extent and nature of the damage to the joint in question. Your physician will carefully examine X-rays to obtain this information. In some cases, options such as medication and/or specific exercises might help you manage your condition without extensive surgery. Joint replacement surgery is not a decision to be made lightly and will ultimately be arrived at after lengthy discussions with your physician.
Are you a candidate for a joint replacement surgery?
Others factors will be considered to determine if you’re a good candidate for a joint replacement, such as your overall quality of life. If you are constantly in pain or have trouble getting around, joint replacement surgery may be right for you.
If joint replacement surgery isn’t an option for you, your physician may try alternatives, such as braces or a cane to help you walk, medication, physical therapy and supplements. For some people, surgery that only addresses part of the joint or the alignment of the joint might be helpful.
Types of joint replacement surgery
When the replacement joint is inserted during surgery, it may be cemented in place or left uncemented, so that the bone will grow onto it. Often, this decision is determined by your age. Cement to hold the joint securely in place is often the better option for older people who don’t move around as much or who have weaker bones. For younger, more mobile people with stronger bones, the uncemented joint is typically the better choice.
In either case, replacement joints tend to last between 10 years to 15 years, so younger people will likely have to go through the process again at some point in their life. This is another issue to consider when thinking about whether to have joint replacement surgery.
Possible complications associated with joint replacement surgery
Although joint replacement surgery is successful in 90 percent of cases, complications may still occur, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Wound infection
- Infection around the prosthesis
- Blood clotting
- Malfunction of the prosthesis (may be caused by wear and tear, breakage, dislocation or loosening)
- Nerve injury (although rare, nerves in the surrounding area may become damaged during the surgery)
Central DuPage Hospital and Delnor Hospital Resources:
- Central DuPage Hospital and Delnor Hospital Hip Replacement Guide (English | Spanish)
- Central DuPage Hospital and Delnor Hospital Shoulder Replacement Guide (English | Spanish)
- Central DuPage Hospital and Delnor Hospital Knee Replacement Guide (English | Spanish)
- Frequently Asked Questions: Joint Replacement
- Joint Adventures: The Pre-Op Class
Northwestern Memorial Hospital Resources:
Download the Joint Replacement Online Class modules at the links below to play the voiceover-guided presentation:
Click on the file below to download instructions for the Online Class:
Take a short survey relating to your experience with the Joint Replacement Online Class.
Kishwaukee Hospital and Valley West Hospital Resources
- Kishwaukee Hospital and Valley West Hospital Hip Replacement Guide
- Kishwaukee Hospital and Valley West Hospital Knee Replacement Guide
Lake Forest Hospital Resources
In the spirit of keeping you well-informed, some of the physician(s) and/or individual(s) identified are neither agents nor employees of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare or any of its affiliate organizations. They have selected our facilities as places where they want to treat and care for their private patients.