When Is Total Joint Replacement Recommended?
Several conditions can cause joint pain and disability and lead patients to consider joint replacement surgery. In many cases, joint pain is caused by damage to the cartilage that lines the ends of the bones (articular cartilage)—either from arthritis, a fracture, or another condition.
If nonsurgical treatments like medications, physical therapy, and activity modifications do not relieve your pain and disability, your doctor may recommend total joint replacement.
How is the need for joint surgery diagnosed?
For nearly all patients, arthritis or other joint problems that are typically treated with joint replacement surgery can be diagnosed with simple x-rays. Other causes for hip or knee pain should be considered since referred back pain can be easily confused for pain associated with arthritis of the hip or knee, and pain from an arthritic hip can occasionally be referred to the knee. Inflammation of the soft tissue structures around the joint also can cause tendonitis or bursitis which can be confused with the pain associated with arthritis. A careful examination by your doctor and routine x-rays usually can determine the actual cause of your pain.