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Joint Replacement or Joint Preservation: What’s Your Option?

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Joint Replacement or Joint Preservation: What’s Your Option?

Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement | Posted on 10/03/2023 by Dr. Rohan Jain



Introduction

Suffering from joint pain? But, not able to decide whether should you choose joint replacement or joint preservation? If yes, then you are at the right place. Since the problems of joint pain and other joints are increasing day by day, people have become familiar with the concept of joint replacement. It helps in replacing the joint surface with different materials such as metal, ceramic, and plastic. Joint replacement is an alternative for worn-out joints. 

If we talk about joint preservation, then it is a joint realignment or putting a live surface on the joints. The primary purpose of this treatment option is to prevent the use of mechanical devices in joint replacement. If you experience chronic joint, choosing between joint replacement and joint preservation can be challenging. The only determining factor is assessing the joint’s damage extent. If the damage is severe, joint replacement is the only option. On the other hand, joint preservation is a great pick for young patients or people with less joint damage. 

In this blog, we will cover the comprehensive discussion on joint replacement and joint preservation, so make sure to stick to the end. However, kindly note that it is for informational purposes and doesn’t encourage ignoring the consultation with a healthcare professional. You can book your appointment with Rukmani Birla Hospital in Jaipur to understand your options.

Understanding joint health

Before we dive deep into the discussion of choosing between joint replacement and joint preservation, let’s first comprehend the joint health basics. Joints are the interconnection between bones, offering constancy and assisting the movement. They are encircled by cartilage, which is a slippery substance or tissue cushioning the bones' ends and allowing them to run flexibly against each other. Tendons and ligaments offer extra joint support. When the cartilage cushioning bones end in your joints begin to go downhill then conditions like osteoarthritis occur. Depending on the severity of the condition, orthopedists recommend treatment options like joint replacement surgery and joint preservation. 

What is joint replacement?

Joint replacement is a surgical procedure that involves removing the deceased or damaged joint by replacing it with an artificial one. It is made of components like plastic, ceramic, and metal. The main objective of joint replacement surgery is to relieve pain and restore joint function. It relevantly helps in improving mobility and quality of life for people with advanced joint problems. Recovery from the surgery of joint replacement might require weeks to months and physical therapy is needed so that strength and mobility are gained. Following are some of the joint replacement key points to consider:

  • Success rates: The success rates of joint replacement surgeries are high. Most people find relief from pain and enhanced joint mobility. It promotes the quality of life for people with serious joint problems. 
  • Recovery time: Joint replacement often requires weeks to months when it comes to recovery. During this period, physiotherapy is the best rehabilitation patient can choose to retrieve forte and mobility. 
  • Prosthetic longevity: Implanted joints have restricted longevity, usually not more than 15-20 years. However, it depends on various factors such as the age of a patient, important type used, activity levels, etc. Some people might require repeated surgery for replacing a fagged prosthetic. 
  • Risks: Joint replacement is no different, it also carries certain risks like any other surgical procedure. It involves risks like infection, blood clotting, and anesthesia complications. However, also note that the occurrence of these risks is usually low. Adequate preoperation assessment and postoperative care help in mitigating these risks. 

What is Joint Preservation?

Joint preservation is an orthopedic treatment option for joint pain that helps to maintain and protect the natural joint. The approach is usually favored for patients with mild to moderate joint problems or those who intend to postpone the idea of joint replacement surgeries. Let’s have a look at some of the key points of joint preservation:

  • Physical therapy: It comprises exercises and methods to reinforce muscles around the joint, enhance motion range, and ease pain. Physical therapy is a highly effective approach to managing conditions like osteoarthritis. 
  • Lifestyle changes: If you want to preserve joint health, simple lifestyle modifications can assist you in achieving the goal. Make sure to maintain a healthy weight, avoid intense activities, and embrace ergonomic practices that can assist in reducing joint stress. 
  • Medications: Over-the-counter medications can assist in managing joint pain and joint inflammation. However, keep in mind that these medications offer temporary relief so that continuing with regular activities is easier. 
  • Injections: For temporary relief, doctors might recommend injections like hyaluronic or corticosteroid for joint pain and inflammation. People having osteoarthritis can benefit from these injections greatly. 
  • Regenerative medicine: Evolving treatment options such as platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy are involved to preserve joints. These options help in the stimulation of the healing process naturally. It might also help in repairing the damaged joint tissues and postpone the surgery for some time.

Joint preservation v/s Joint replacement: How to choose?

Choosing between joint replacement surgery and joint preservation completely depends on certain factors such as joint condition severity, patient’s age, activity level, and complete health. Let’s find out some considerations that can help you with making an informed decision:

  • Specialist consultation: First start with an orthopedist consultation expert who can evaluate your joint condition and suggest treatment options that are suitable for you. Experts can assist you in assessing the pros and shortcomings of both options.
  • Quality of life: Contemplate the thought that joint condition is affecting your regular life. If the impact is high and leads to regular pain, joint replacement surgery might be a suitable choice for you in this case. 
  • Personal preference: Usually, some patients opt for conservative treatment options and try avoiding surgery as much as possible. However, some people prefer joint replacement for quick relief. So, it is a personal choice and you need to figure out keeping all factors in your mind. 
  • Long-term perspective: Consider your lasting anticipations related to joint problems. Joint preservation will help you postpone the surgery, but it might not offer pain relief and mobility like joint replacement. So, see what works best for you or you can take assistance from your friends, relatives, or family members who have undergone any of these two methods

Conclusion

In conclusion, the decision between joint preservation and joint replacement surgery is completely personal and depends on the particular situation of every patient. Hence, it is always best to get in touch with a highly skilled and talented orthopedist who can identify the proper course of action for your joint health. The final aim is improving the quality of life and restoring mobility so that you can enjoy life without enervating joint pain, whether you choose joint replacement or joint preservation. 

FAQs

 

Are joint spaces preserved a good thing?

Yes, it is always a good idea to delay the joint preservation. 

Is it safe to have a joint replacement?

Joint replacement surgery is one of the safest and most effective treatment options for joint-related conditions. 

Is it necessary to have a joint replacement?

It is best to work with your doctor in this regard and understand your options. Joint replacement usually is recommended when there is no other option left and is the last resort.