Accessibility Tools

What is Joint Replacement Surgery?

A joint is an articulation (junction) between 2 or more bones in the body. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and other soft tissue structures hold the joint in position.

Joint replacement surgery is a procedure in which the damaged or worn out articulating parts of the joint are removed and replaced with artificial prostheses. The goal of the surgery is to relieve pain and restore the normal functioning of the joint and help you resume normal activities.

Joint replacement surgery is mostly employed to treat symptoms of arthritis, a condition in which the articular cartilage that covers the joint surface is damaged or worn out causing significant pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joint.

Indications for Joint Replacement Surgery

Some of the common indications of joint replacement surgery include the following:

  • Treatment of arthritic conditions, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis of the joints
  • Severe joint pain that limits your daily activities (such as walking, getting up from a chair, or climbing stairs)
  • Moderate-to-severe pain that occurs during rest or awakens you at night
  • Chronic joint inflammation and swelling that is not relieved with rest or medications
  • Weakness and/or loss of joint motion
  • Severe joint fracture or trauma
  • Failure to obtain pain relief from medications, injections, physical therapy or other conservative treatments

Am I a Candidate for Joint Replacement Surgery?

To help your doctor decide if joint replacement surgery is ideal for you, please answer the questions below.

  • In general, your joint pain can be described as:
    • Mild but does not affect movement
    • Moderate and some difficulty with movement
    • Severe and great difficulty with movement  
    • Extremely severe and certain movements are impossible
  • Are you able to perform your basic household functions?
    • Yes with very little difficulty
    • I cannot perform certain tasks
    • I can only perform some tasks
    • I am mostly dependent on others
  • Does your joint pain affect your sleep?
    • Never
    • Occasionally
    • Most nights
    • Every night
  • Since how long have you been having joint pain?
    • A couple of months
    • 3 to 6 months
    • 6 months to a year
    • More than a year
  • If the joint pain is in your knee or hip, do you have pain while standing, walking or sitting?
    • No
    • Sometimes
    • Mostly
    • All the time
  • Are you able to walk down a flight of stairs?
    • Yes, with little difficulty
    • Yes, with some difficulty
    • Sometimes I can’t
    • Most of the time I can’t
  • While walking, how long does it take before you experience joint pain?
    • Less than 5 minutes or instant pain with walking
    • 5-15 minutes
    • 15-30 minutes
    • More than half an hour
  • While driving, entering and exiting a car or using other forms of transport, your joint pain is described as:
    • Mild
    • Moderate
    • Severe
    • Extremely severe
  • After sitting for a long time, describe the pain you experience on standing?
    • Mild, with little difficulty getting up
    • Moderate, with some difficulty getting up
    • Severe, with great difficulty getting up
    • Extremely severe, requiring assistance to get up
  • How much has joint pain interfered with your work, hobbies, or recreational activities?
    • Mildly
    • Moderately
    • Severely
    • Extremely severe 
  • Have you had relief from other forms of therapy or with the use of assistive devices?
    • Yes
    • Mostly
    • Sometimes
    • Unsatisfactory
  • What Kinds of Treatments Have You Utilized To Mitigate Joint Pain?
    • Exercise/weight loss
    • Medications
    • Physical Therapy
    • Assistive Devices
    • Steroid Therapy