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Reconstruction Vs. Replacement Surgery

Having surgery to reconstruct or replace your knee, hip or shoulder joint is a life-altering decision. Regaining mobility and being free from pain can greatly improve your quality of life. However, you may be wondering whether it would be better for you to have a reconstruction procedure or a total joint replacement. While this is something you’ll need to discuss with your doctor, the following information outlines the differences between these procedures.

Joint Reconstruction Procedures

These types of procedures are used to repair part of the joint (rather than removing it completely and replacing it with an artificial joint). They are typically performed more often on younger patients, but in some cases they are also a good option for seniors.

Arthroscopy: This is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure where the surgeon makes tiny incisions and inserts a camera and surgical instruments to trim soft tissues, remove bone spurs or make other minor repairs to the joint.

Osteotomy: This procedure involves cutting and removing part of the bone near the damaged joint.

Resurfacing: This procedure involves replacing damaged surfaces in the joint with artificial parts made of metal or plastic.

Arthrodesis: This procedure involves fusing two bones together in the damaged joint.

Pros and Cons of Joint Reconstruction

Joint reconstruction offers a number of benefits – as well as some possible drawbacks. The benefits can include reduced pain, increased mobility, improved quality of life and faster recovery when compared to total joint replacement. 

Potential drawbacks may include the need to change your lifestyle (lose weight, exercise more), and the possibility that you may need to undergo further procedures in the future.

Total Joint Replacement Surgery

This type of procedure involves completely removing the injured or diseased joint and replacing it with an artificial joint made from metal, plastic or ceramic materials. The surgeon may also remove damaged bone or cartilage from the area before implanting the artificial joint.

Pros and Cons of Joint Replacement

The benefits of total joint replacement can include reduced pain, increased mobility and improved quality of life. Potential drawbacks may include the need to change your lifestyle (lose weight, exercise more), and length of recovery (several months to a year or more).

Ultimately, deciding between joint reconstruction or total joint replacement is something that you’ll need to discuss thoroughly with your physician as every person (and every case) is different.

DISCLAIMER: Always consult your physician before acting on any medical advice or tips you may receive – including those involving medical procedures, exercises, lifestyle changes, supplements, vitamins, etc. Lafayette General Orthopaedic Hospital is not responsible for any adverse effects experienced by persons who act upon advice without prior approval from a qualified physician.