When you know you need a hip or knee replacement, it can be a very scary prospect. Whether you need a full replacement, or just a partial, surgery of this type can make someone worry when they don’t know much about it in the first place. But, both are quite common surgeries and a qualified surgeon will be able to help you without any problems.
The Difference Between Total Replacement and Partial Replacement
A total hip replacement or knee replacement as you might imagine replaces the arthritic hip joint or damaged knee joint with a synthetic replacement that is designed to give you as much mobility and stability as possible. These surgeries have a high success rate and have given many a good quality of life because of relief of pain in the joints and the increased mobility they now have. For knees, there are different total replacement options, depending on your individual situation, and there are even knee replacements for those of a smaller size than average or for those needing special variances.
There are also kinds designed to be used with or without cement. The cement- less knee replacements depend on bone growth, where new bone grows into the implant. To hold it in place in the meantime, screws are usually inserted into the implant. When needing a hip replacement, there are also options there as well, depending on your needs, and they also have the option of being attached by cement or by bone regrowth.
Partial resurfacing is available in both your knees and hips. In knees, this procedure is usually done in patients who only have osteoarthritis in one part of their knee. Designed to give you a quicker recovery, this surgery can be done without compromising the rest of the healthy bone and tissue that is left in the knee. For hips, partial resurfacing usually means the replacement of only the femoral head where the leg and hip join, so that the hip socket is left intact and you are left with as much of your own bone as possible, making it easier for future revisions if needed.
How Long do the Replacements Last?
Both replacements have been known to last up to 20 years, and in some patients it has been seen that their replacements have lasted them 30-40 years. Either surgery is usually not done on younger patients if avoidable because of the fact that a younger person who is more active will tend to wear out the replacement faster. The biggest problem with both is the loosening up of the replacement over time. Patients are encouraged to stay away from high impact activity such as running, and to try something low impact like swimming to stay active. Kneeling is also advised against with knee replacements. If you do however wind up needing a second replacement, your doctor can advise you in this and the surgery is not uncommon and is possible.
Knowing that hip and knee replacement surgeries are quite common and that you have a lot of different options depending on your situation should give you more peace of mind if you find yourself needing one of these replacements. They are common procedures that give many people a better quality of life after wards, and if you think you need one of these procedures you should talk with your doctor.