Every day, people all over the world need to get some form of joint replacement. In the United States alone, a whopping one million people will have a total joint replacement procedure, and the numbers are expected to rise above four million per year in the next two decades.
For an aging population coupled with more active lifestyles, precision-made replacement joints composed of specialized materials have created a surge in joint replacement surgeries.
The materials that make up a replacement joint can vary, depending on the joint in question and how much range of motion and or weight the joint is designed to support. Joint replacement parts also have to be crafted from materials that are not likely to provoke any immune response from the patient, as the body reacts to and rejects certain materials more than others. They must be highly resistant to wear from repetitive motions such as walking, running, lifting, and/or rotating, as required. Besides being able to retain their shape and be strong enough to withstand daily use, artificial joints have to be able to closely mimic the original form and function of the naturally occurring joint they were designed to replace.
This means that they are milled to extremely precise dimensions, using the most appropriate material for each joint. Hip replacement joints, for example, often contain highly polished, hard metal with durable, extremely smooth plastics. The stem portion is generally made of a strong, corrosion resistant metal such as titanium, or cobalt and chromium alloys. The rest of the joint may be fashioned from a combination of high-density plastics, metal alloys, or ceramics.
Knee joints are likewise often made from titanium and ceramics. The use of ceramics may be required in metal sensitive patients, although ceramic joints are much more common outside of the United States. When considering which joint replacement is right for a patient, the surgeon takes many variables into account, such as weight, bone dimensions, the health and strength of ligaments, probable activity levels, gender, and patient age. Design features are also a consideration, as younger patients may require a more conservative approach to maximize the preservation of bone, while an older patient may need a replacement that is much less robust.
The art and science of joint replacement has come a long way in recent decades. Newer techniques and better implants are constantly being developed. There has never been a better time to replace a painful joint than now. If you, or someone you love, needs a joint replacement or has questions about joint replacement surgery, please call Intercoastal Medical Group today at (941) 955-6748 in Sarasota or (941) 362-8662 in Lakewood Ranch for an appointment with one of our highly qualified, caring orthopedic surgeons. You can also request an appointment online. At Intercoastal Medical Group we are truly dedicated to your health.