Replacement of a damaged joint requires surgery. Arthritis
is the typical cause of joint damage. The most common joint replacements involve hips and the knees. A knee implant lasts for approximately 15 years. A hip implant usually lasts for around 20 years without complications.
Definition and causes
When a joint is damaged to such a degree that it significantly affects movement function and there is pain at rest it may be necessary to operate. The severity of the damage to the joint determines the need for surgical correction of the bone ends, or whether to insert a complete or partial artificial joint. An artificial joint is shaped like the joint it replaces, and may consist of both metal and rubber/plastic components.
The reason for a joint to become damaged is most often osteoarthritis
or an accident.
When to operate?
One of the main reasons to operate on a joint is pain. When there is pain at rest, there is the greatest motivation for surgery. Similarly, there is surgery indication when the joint function is much reduced.
Which parts are involved?
Typically one sees implantation of artificial joints (arthroplasty) in hip and knee joints since these joints are subjected to the greatest load and wear. Besides, artificial joints are implanted in shoulders, elbows, hands, fingers and feet.
Overweight persons run a greater risk to damage joints due to the increased load and wear on the joints why weight reduction is recommended. Besides, it is important to avoid continued work/sport which overloads the joint. There may be genetic factors that come into play in the development of osteoarthritis
Outlook and complications
Joint replacement usually has a very good result in relation to pain and functionality. An artificial knee implant lasts around 15 years without complications and thereafter an implant replacement might be considered. An artificial hip joint lasts around 20 years without complications. There is a risk that the artificial joint dislocates (luxation) and effective rehabilitation of the muscles and tendons around the joint is important to prevent dislocation.
There is always risk of infection in connection with surgery and by implantation of an artificial part the risk of infection is slightly higher than average. Therefore antibiotics are given in connection with the operation. An infection somewhere else in the body may spread to the bone around the artificial joint and persons with a joint implant should be extra vigilant to take antibiotics in case of future infections.
Læs denne artikel på dansk