In Joint replacement surgery, artificial implants, or prostheses, are used to replace diseased or damaged bone around joints so that patients are able to enjoy normal movement once again as far as possible.
How much improvement there is in movement depends on the individual, how much the joint has deteriorated before surgery and the condition of the muscles surrounding the joint.
Hip, knee, ankle, elbow and shoulder joints can all be replaced with artificial implants, but hip and knee replacement procedures are by far the most common. In England and Wales there are approximately 160,000 total hip and knee replacement procedures performed each year. Around the same number of hip and knee joints are replaced.
The main reason patients undergo joint replacement surgery is because a joint has become too painful or too difficult to use during daily activities. During the operation the problem joint is exposed, and the joint surface and some bone tissue is removed from the bone ends. The prosthesis is then fixed to the bone ends. Implants last up to 15 years. They imitate the shape of bones and can be made of metal, high density polyethylene or ceramic.
Joint replacements are one of the most commonly performed and most successful operations in the UK. But as with all surgery, there are some risks that you should discuss with your surgeon.