Types of Arthroplasty

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If you experience joint pain, you may be a candidate for arthroplasty. The orthopedic team at Nuvance Health® provides a range of surgical options, including joint replacements, joint resurfacing and robot-assisted surgery.

What is arthroplasty?

Arthroplasty is a type of joint surgery. The goal of arthroplasty is to restore the function of your joint.

You might be a good candidate for arthroplasty if you have chronic (prolonged) joint pain. Causes of this joint pain can include:

  • Arthritis, especially osteoarthritis (joint inflammation)
  • Bursitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs, bursae, which cushion the joint)
  • Cartilage loss, often from aging or wear and tear
  • Injuries that involve bone or soft tissue damage
  • Tendonitis (inflammation of tissue connecting bone to muscle)

Orthopedic treatments for joint pain

Orthopedic specialists use a variety of treatments for joint pain:

Joint replacements

Joint replacements involve removing a damaged joint and replacing it with prosthetic parts. You might have a total joint replacement, where a surgeon replaces the entire joint. A total joint replacement is also called a total joint arthroplasty. Or, you might have a partial joint replacement, where a surgeon removes and replaces only the damaged portion.

The most common joint replacements are hip replacements and knee replacements. We can use two different approaches for hip replacements:

  • Anterior hip replacements, where the surgeon operates through the front of the hip
  • Posterior hip replacements, where the surgeon operates through the back of the hip

Orthopedic surgeons also offer:

  • Ankle replacements
  • Elbow replacements
  • Shoulder replacements

To learn more about total hip and knee replacements, you may download our patient guidebooks:

Joint resurfacing

Depending on the extent of the joint damage, an orthopedic surgeon may recommend joint resurfacing. During this procedure, the surgeon repairs cartilage damage. The surgeon may also replace sections of the joint with prosthetic parts so you can move more freely and without pain.

Common joint resurfacing procedures include:

  • Hip resurfacing
  • Knee resurfacing
  • Shoulder resurfacing

Joint preservation

If you still have some functionality in your joint, an orthopedic specialist might recommend joint preservation treatments. Some options include:

  • Arthroscopy: Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery to examine a joint. Usually, surgeons use arthroplasty on the knee or hip. We may recommend arthroscopy to evaluate joint damage. Or we may use it to repair torn ligaments, cartilage or bone spurs.
  • Cartilage transplants: With this technique, orthopedic specialists replace damaged cartilage. They may also use techniques to help your body stimulate more cartilage growth.
  • Injections: Cortisone, steroid and hyaluronic acid injections are all common options for managing joint pain. These injections work by reducing inflammation in a damaged or painful joint.
  • Platelet-rich plasma: This treatment works by using the healing properties of your own platelets to reduce inflammation and stimulate tissue repair. An orthopedic specialist may recommend this option to treat damaged ligaments, tendons or joints.

What is robot-assisted surgery?

Robot-assisted surgery is a technique where surgeons use a robotic device during an operation. There are many types of robotic devices. When surgeons perform robot-assisted procedures, they are in control of the robotic device during the entire surgery.

Robot-assisted surgery allows surgeons to operate with even higher degrees of control and efficiency. Additional benefits of robot-assisted surgery include:

  • Decreased pain
  • Less scarring
  • Lower risk of infection or other complications
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Shorter hospital stays

At Nuvance Health, orthopedic surgeons use a few types of robotic systems:

Mako® robotic arm

Before surgery, the Stryker Mako® robotic arm uses a CT scan to build a 3D model of your joint. We use this model to create a personalized surgery plan. During the operation, surgeons use the robotic arm to operate accurately and efficiently.

The Mako® robotic arm allows surgeons to perform hip and knee replacements with even higher degrees of precision. We also use MAKOplasty® partial knee resurfacing for patients who would benefit from a partial joint replacement.

Surgery recovery

Orthopedic surgeons work closely with rehabilitation specialists to optimize your recovery. After joint surgery, you may work with:

  • Occupational therapists: These specialists help you adapt to everyday activities. They may teach you to use assistive devices, such as tools that help you put your socks on without bending to the floor.
  • Physical therapists: These specialists teach you exercises that improve your strength, mobility and flexibility. Your physical therapist may prescribe an exercise plan for you to follow at home between appointments.

You may work with a therapist in the hospital after surgery, in your home or at an outpatient location. Find out more about how rehabilitation services optimize your recovery after surgery.