Arthritis affects one in three Americans and is the most common source of disability for those over 50 years old. In osteoarthritis, which affects the majority of sufferers, cartilage that covers the ends of the bones in a joint deteriorates. As bone begins to rub against bone, pain increases, and loss of movement acceelerates. Many people experience this discomfort for years, mistakenly believing that they are "too young" to suffer from joint problems or that "nothing can be done" to help.

Joint replacement is a surgery where a worn out or injured joint is replaced with a new, artificial joint. Depending on the patient's medical situation, lifestyle, age, and other factors, the type of surgery and materials used will vary. Valley Medical Center's surgeons carefully assess the procedure and materials most appropriate to each patient's unique needs.

Ninety to 95 percent of patients who undergo joint replacement surgery experience significantly reduced pain levels and increased mobility. Many feel they have been able to get back to the things they most enjoy in life. The Joint Center at Valley Medical Center offers a caring and supportive program that will help you make the most of your surgical options.

Most patients experience only mild to moderate discomfort in the days and weeks following joint replacement surgery. In the majority of cases, individuals will be mobile within hours of their surgery.

To replace a knee or hip, the surgery generally lasts about 1 or 2 hours.

An incision is made on the front or side of your knee and the damaged bone is removed. The surfaces of your knee structure are prepped and shaped to hold the new joint. The new joint is then aligned and secured to the thighbone, kneecap and shinbone. Your orthopedic surgeon will discuss this procedure with you in more detail and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Learn more

An incision is made on the side or front of your hip and the damaged joint is removed. The surface of your old socket is smoothed and the new socket is put into the pelvis. The new ball-and-stem component is inserted into the head of your thighbone. Then, the new ball and stem are joined with the socket. Your orthopedic surgeon will talk about this procedure with you in more detail and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Learn more.

Therapy is crucial to recovery from joint replacement. You'll be encouraged to move in a matter of hours following your surgery. Nursing and therapy staff work closely with joint patients to  make sure they understand their role in the recovery process. Your care team will review your home therapy plan with you in detail after your surgery before you leave and help you arrange for outpatient therapy options if needed. Staff are always available to provide information and support in the weeks after surgery.

DocTalk: Pre-Operative Joint Replacement Seminar

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