Your joints are primary supporters in almost every activity you do. When you suffer from, for example, hip or knee pain, everyday activities can feel unbearable. Many conditions can cause joint pain, especially knee and hip. Joint replacement surgery can help relieve your pain. Patients may find relief using nonsurgical treatment options. If these do not provide relief, your doctor might recommend a partial or total joint replacement. In joint-replacement surgery, also called arthroplasty, your surgeon replaces damaged bone and cartilage with an implant that will allow you to move your joint without pain.
Surgeons perform a high volume of joint-replacement surgeries in the United States annually. The United States is one of the leading developed countries where joint replacement surgeries are performed in very high volume. According to a research article, the rate of total joint replacement surgeries will significantly increase if joint-related issues persist. This may impact males and females and health authorities will need to update health policies to meet the increased demand for resources in the future.
Higher surgery volumes with robotics techniques are associated with better outcomes and lower rates of complications. Orthopedic surgeons, including robotic-arm-assisted technology, are at the forefront of joint-replacement surgery. This technology helps to customize the surgery to your unique needs. For example, a total knee replacement. In a total knee replacement, a CT scan of the knee generates a virtual 3D model of your unique joint. Your surgeon uploads this model into software to create your surgical plan.
A surgeon can modify this plan at any time based on your needs. Your surgeon guides the robotic arm to remove the damaged bone and cartilage from the knee, keeping your healthy bone and cartilage in place. With the diseased bone, your surgeon inserts a knee implant into the joint space.
Types of Joint Replacement Surgery
There are different kinds of joint replacement surgeries. There are some common surgeries that most population undergoes, such as Knee, Hip, and wrist. The different kinds of joint replacement surgeries are listed below:
- Total Knee Replacement
- Total Hip Replacement
- Wrist Arthroplasty
- Ankle and Foot Arthroplasty
- Total Elbow Replacement
- Shoulder Replacement
- Unicompartmental Knee Replacement (one compartment can be replaced)
- Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement
Reasons for Joint Replacement
There can be various reasons for joint replacement. Some of the primary reasons have been discussed below:
- Chronic Moderate to Severe Pain in Joint(s)
- Severe Damage or Complete Destruction of the Joint
- Disease Conditions such as Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, and Chronic Bone Disease
- Degeneration of Bone Tissues due to highly Joint Stressed Sport(s)
- Genetic Deformity in the Joint(s)
What to Expect After Joint Replacement Surgery
The recovery process is entirely based on the type of surgery, which can vary from patient to patient. Generally, patients wake up in the recovery room after surgery, specifically to be called a post-anesthesia care unit. At the same time, most of the time, most patients’ pain is controlled in these rooms. Patients are sleepy after surgery, and it takes them a couple of hours to wake up and feel more normal. Some patients will have some nausea that will require medication. Some patients will also have pain that can usually keep well-controlled with pain medications. After a patient is done in the recovery room for a few hours, most patients will go up to their normal hospital floor where they’ll be staying for the duration of their stay. And every day during your hospitalization, there are two main goals: to control your pain.
It is entirely possible with a combination of intravenous and oral medications. The other one is to slowly get more mobile and get up and out of bed. If everything goes well, most people are in the hospital for two to three days after a hip or knee replacement. Generally, there is no written rule about when patients discharge. It is when the patient is ready for the discharge when it is safe to discharge; that is when patients go home.
It is critical to understand that after hip and knee replacement that most patients don’t have zero pain. There may some pain or discomfort after the surgery. However, it’s equally important to realize that most patients have well-controlled pain. The recovery after hip and knee replacements is not quick. Instead, it’s a process and recovery may require a few days to a few weeks. So, patients are acutely recovering for the first two to six weeks after surgery and may have discomfort. They’re not able to do all their everyday activities. Usually, by the six to 12-week mark, patients are feeling substantially better. Life may not be normal for them, but they’re certainly feeling better than they were acutely after surgery.
Implants and Joint Replacement Surgery
Generally, the type and quality of implants play a critical role in joint replacement surgery success. However, technique and surgeon experience may completely replace the success of the surgery. Joint replacement surgery is gradually gaining wide acceptance because the success of these surgeries has been very well-proven worldwide.
World Health Organization (WHO) lists hip and knee replacement as the first and the third best surgery for improving somebody’s quality of life. According to surgeons, many patients query what implant will go into the joint. It is the most typical misconception that success related to joint replacement surgery involves a particular type of metal implant. Surprisingly, the technique rather than technology makes the difference here. Medical science has excellent technology worldwide, with the latest designs of implants available even in the remotest corners of most countries.
Nonetheless, when surgeons are about to select a large metal implant, many patients demand imported implants. It doesn’t matter whether an implant is expensive or indigenous, which makes a difference because the technique used for surgery plays a more critical role in success. Patients have the right to use the implant they want to be based on their preferences and budget. Nowadays, they have a wider variety of different types of materials available. A regular metal or surgery-specific implant with the proper technique can significantly improve the patient’s life quality in terms of movement and performing normal daily activities.
Robotics Versus Conventional Joint Replacement Surgery
Conventional joint replacement surgery is one of the most performed surgeries for patients. About 90-95% of the western population each year feels better after the surgery. However, about 5% of patients report the pain and discomfort they are experiencing in their daily life. They have an ache in the nature joint. With the surgeon’s hands, the surgeon says a named reproducibility. They cannot consistently reproduce the same kind of thing. If there is a one-degree or three degrees of rotation in the fixation of this joint, they cannot produce the exact degree of rotation in the fixation. Here the role of this new technology, like a robotic arm came. So, with a computer, we can reproduce this fixation of these implants every time, and these implants will last long. Thus, that’s where this technology plays its role efficiently. For example, the computer guides the appropriate angle in robotic knee surgery. Implant-wise, the fixation accuracy of these implants will be much better than the conventional technique.
The second advantage is soft tissue dissection. The surgeon dissects around the joint is much less with the robotic arm than with the traditional method of dissection. The third advantage is that it won’t damage the soft tissues. The recovery is much faster in robotics operations. In conventional joint replacement, the recovery takes about three weeks to four weeks, whereas with robotic joint (knee) replacement within two weeks. The patients will be on their feet without support. They can walk with no or a little discomfort. That’s the most significant advantage of robotics surgery.
Putting off joint replacement is a goal of many patients, which is very typical among the elderly population because there is high stress involved with making the decision. However, patients undergoing joint replacement surgery may lose some days of quality of life. Patients often report that with arthritis, they can’t do the things they want to do or love to do. Sometimes arthritis bothers patients at a level, making their life a little more challenging. So, deciding to go forward with a joint replacement is very difficult.
Most doctors suggest that patients go with their gut. They should only do this if they are ready to undergo joint replacement surgery. Mental preparation is equally important as physical one. To exemplify, there are many activities that one has to do regularly, and this could be difficult for some patients. In this case, they need an upgrade; joint replacement can be the correct answer.
Although joint replacement surgery can be the last option if a patient is experiencing sharp pain or discomfort, however, there are many non-invasive techniques, such as physiotherapy, effective-pain medications, and exercises, that can improve the discomfort associated with the condition. The patient may ask the doctor or orthopedic surgeon about joint replacement alternatives that can improve their symptoms. If an invasive procedure is necessarily required, patients should be informed about the future consequences after the surgery. For instance, surgery may decrease the quality of life, and movement limits or bending of the operated joint(s), etc. It may make a difference if a patient is prepared for the consequences after the joint replacement.