Is joint replacement a safe form of treatment for arthritis?

Many years ago, when medical technology was not as advanced or sophisticated as it is nowadays, to have arthritis was akin to a death sentence and so many people found themselves confined to a sedentary lifestyle with little hope for alleviation of their pain, or an improvement of their symptoms. Whilst we have yet to actually find a definitive and ultimate cure for the condition, it is safe to say that the quality and range of treatment for arthritis options has increased dramatically in recent years.

Recent innovations in orthopaedic surgical methods have meant that there has been an exciting new development for the effective treatment for arthritis: total joint replacement therapy. Here, as the name would perhaps indicate to the layman, the painful and arthritic joint of the patient will be removed and replaced with a prosthetic joint.

The following is intended as an overview of some of the more salient points the arthritis sufferer should be aware with regards to this form of treatment for arthritis.

Is Total Joint Replacement suitable and usable for any form of arthritis?

Unfortunately, no. It should be noted that non weight bearing joints such as the hips and the fingers have enjoyed very high success rates and the reason for this is that there is nowhere nearly as much of a mechanical strain imposed on them as would be experienced by the knee or ankle joints of the body.  Therefore, there is still a great deal of work that needs to be carried out to ensure that these joints have the best quality.

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Who is a suitable candidate for this treatment for arthritis?

In short, the precise conditions for suitability of a joint replacement will depend on the precise nature of the joint being replaced. However, that said, there are some common issues and conditions that are applicable to them all.

Patients who have a history of vascular problems (such as avascular necrosis of the joint), lesions of either the bones or the surrounding skin area will not be a viable candidate for the therapy. In addition, very young patients maybe refused the surgery, because they will outlive the prosthetic.

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