About one million people in the US receive artificial joint components in the knees and hips annually. That’s a lot of implant hardware, giving rise to the question: “Just what are orthopedic implants, and how are they used in total joint replacement surgeries?”
If you and your doctor are considering this state-of-the-art procedure, you should know more about the miracle materials that will get you moving once again.
The Reasons for Total Joint Replacement
Also called joint arthroplasty, total joint replacement involves the removal of diseased, deformed, or injured joint components and the surgical installation of new parts made of high-tech plastics and metals. For many Americans, total joint replacement becomes an absolute essential as they lose the ability to move comfortably and independently because their hips and knees can no longer bear weight or perform complex movements for ambulation in their daily routines and sporting activities.
As our population ages, advanced osteoarthritis becomes a top reason people and their orthopedic surgeons consider surgery after less invasive solutions no longer work. Sports injuries, falls, and motor vehicle accidents in younger people can force a decision for surgery, too.
Orthopedic Implants and What They Do
Orthopedic implants come in many forms. Surgeons work closely with device manufacturers to determine which implants would work best for each patient’s therapeutic needs. In general, orthopedic implants replace deteriorating or damaged joint components (such as articular cartilage on bone ends) or strengthen long bones prone to fracture because of osteoporosis-related problems.
For example, an orthopedic surgeon can reinforce the upper leg bone, or femur, by installing biocompatible metal screws, plates, and rods. In total joint replacement, the metal and plastic parts take the place of the entire joint. For instance, a TJR of the hip involves remaking the hip socket in the pelvis and the ball on the end of the upper leg bone (the femoral head).
Artificial Joint Materials
Regarding total joint prosthetics, surgeons can choose from a variety of manufacturers who offer joint components in different shapes and sizes. Typically, the metals are cobalt, titanium, or stainless-steel alloys tested and selected for their anti-inflammatory properties. Titanium is very popular because of its superior biocompatibility, lightweight, and strength.
Finally, some total joint arthroplasties involve the use of cement to install hardware or total joint components. Other procedures are simple to press fits. Either way, the surgeon makes sure the materials chosen give patients the best chances for pain-free movement, excellent weight bearing, and return of independent ambulation.
Orthopedic Implants and Procedures in Queens, NY
Affiliated with the well-respected Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, EMU Health offers high-quality musculoskeletal care to the Queens community. Whether you have spine issues, a sports injury, arthritis, foot, and ankle issues, or upper extremity pain, we can help.
Dr. Ivan Madrid is our fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon on staff, and Rothman Orthopaedic Institute specialists also see patients at our facilities. Our physicians use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and treatment options, including minimally invasive surgeries and non-operative solutions.