Medically reviewed by
Dr. Chad Thurman
McLeod Orthopaedics – Florence
Many people with hip or knee pain ultimately undergo a total joint replacement. However, McLeod Orthopedic Specialist Dr. Chad Thurman a person has other non-surgical options.
Here’s an overview of Dr. Thurman’s comments:
Preventive medicine or treatment prior to surgery includes physical treatment, which includes bracing, physical therapy, oral medication (including anti-inflammatory medications, Tylenol and prescription pain medications) and injections. There are two main types of injections that we do in an arthritic situation — cortisone shots and hyaluronic acid or gel shots.
There is also a market out there for stem cell injections and biologics. However, in the arthritic knee, unfortunately, they have not been shown to be beneficial.
With a total or partial knee replacement procedure, the incision is directed over the front of the knee from roughly the top of the kneecap down to the shinbone. We simply resurface the area. It’s not a true replacement of a large amount of bone in the knee. We just remove the arthritic cartilage and place a new cap over the femur and the tibia. Then, we use a plastic tray that replaces your old cartilage.
In the hip, the disease is located in the ball and socket of the hip joint. We preserve as much muscle and soft tissue as possible. We remove the head from the hip joint. We replace that with a stem and a new head. Then, we put a new metal shell on the cup side of the pelvis with a plastic liner to represent your new cartilage.
Technology has really improved in the hip and knee replacement world in the last 10-15 years. We’ve seen a great advancement in the plastics, metal and other materials, such as ceramic hips, which have shown really good long-term wear. Data on the newer hip and knee replacement materials shows a retention rate of up to 90% at 25 years. That’s great, because we’re not revising people and people aren’t having failures after 15 to 20 years like they were in the past.
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