Types of joint surgery

November 6, 2016

A normal joint has a smooth surface made up of a cartilage that makes the bones glide easily. These joints are further lubricated by a thin layer of fluid, which aids in the gliding. When this cartilage wears out or is damaged, the movements are restricted or become stiff and painful. The wearing out of the joints within a body can be affected due to various reasons ranging from old age to diseases such as arthritis. The ultimate solution to treat this problem is a joint surgery.

Joint surgery is a medical procedure that involves the removal of a damaged joint and replaced with an artificial one. This surgery is often undertaken to relieve pain and restore movement, thus ensuring a better quality of life.

Below are some of the common types of joint replacement surgeries:

Knee replacement

The knee joint comprises of the lower end of the femur, the upper part of the tibia and the patella also known as the kneecap. It also includes the articular cartilage, which helps in the fluidity of these joints. Injuries and arthritis are the common causes of knee joint damage. Knee replacement surgery can be performed as a partial or a total knee replacement. In general, the surgery consists of replacing the diseased or damaged joint surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components shaped to allow continued motion of the knee.

Hip replacement

The hip joint comprises of a simple ball known as the femoral head and socket joint, along with the articular cartilage which ensures fluidity between these two joints. This articular cartilage can be affected due to arthritis, injury or even natural wear and tear.

Hip replacement surgery can be performed as a total replacement or a Hemi (half) replacement. A total hip replacement (total hip arthroplasty) consists of replacing both the acetabulum and the femoral head while hemiarthroplasty generally only replaces the femoral head.

Shoulder joint replacement

The shoulder joints consist of three different bones, namely the upper arm bone which is the humerus, the shoulder blade which is the scapula and the collarbone, known as the clavicle. Just like the hip joint, the shoulder joint comprises of a ball and socket system, with the articular cartilage on the surface of the joint to assist in smooth movements. Arthritis, rotator cuff injuries or even a severe fracture can affect the shoulder joints. Depending on the extent of the damage, either the ball or the socket joint will be replaced or the entire joint will be replaced.

Individuals who will need to undergo a joint replacement surgery will have plenty of concerns. It is imperative to take time and effort to learn more about the treatment options available and what you can expect from them.