Total and Partial Joint Replacement Surgery

Joint replacement surgery, or arthroplasty, removes a damaged joint and places a new, artificial joint in its place. There are two types of arthroplasty: total joint replacement and partial joint replacement. Both are performed in a hospital under full anesthesia.

Total Joint Replacement

Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure performed to replace the entire damaged joint with artificial implants. Total joint replacement is usually performed when the joint is severely damaged, and when all other remedies, including partial joint replacement, are unlikely to yield a positive outcome. In partial hip replacement, only the ball of the femur is replaced with a metal stem and ball. The new hip joint is then rejoined to the original

hip socket. In partial knee replacement, only the damaged bone and cartilage are removed, and a metal component and plastic spacer are attached in their place with bone cement. Partial ankle replacement is performed similarly.

Partial Joint Replacement

Partial joint replacement is a minimally invasive procedure during which only the diseased or damaged joint surfaces are removed and replaced with artificial surfaces and the healthy parts of the joint are left intact. Partial joint replacement is a viable option for certain patients when all possible conservative means of treatment, such as rest, anti-inflammatory medications or physical therapy have proven to be ineffective in relieving symptoms.

Exploring the Options:

A Look at Partial and Total Joint Replacement

In total knee replacement, the damaged cartilage surfaces at the ends of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) are removed along with a small amount of underlying bone. The removed cartilage and bone are replaced with metal components that recreate the surface of the joint. These metal parts may be cemented or “press fit” into the bone. The undersurface of the patella (kneecap) is cut and resurfaced with a plastic component. Some surgeons do not resurface the patella, depending on the case. Lastly, a medical-grade plastic spacer is inserted between the metal components to create a smooth gliding surface.

In total hip replacement, damaged cartilage is removed from the hip socket and the ball portion of the femur is removed. The removed bone is replaced with either a metal or plastic hip joint which is attached to the femur with cement or a similar material. The removed cartilage is replaced with an artificial hip socket, and the new hip joint is inserted into the socket. In total ankle replacement, damaged bone and cartilage are removed from the lower end of the tibia and top of the talus (foot bone). The cut bone surface is replaced with metal components to recreate the joint surface. This can happen with bone cement or a similar material. A medical-grade plastic spacer is then inserted between the two metal components and screws may be placed to stabilize your ankle.