JOINT REPLACEMENT AND RECONSTRUCTION

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“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
– Buddha

There are various factors that can lead to the development of joint pain. With time, our joints can develop stresses and strains that lead to the wearing away of the critical elements such as the cartilage, that keep the joint operating smoothly. Natural conditions such as aging, or even activities such as sports can trigger joint pain and ultimately a wearing away of the joint elements. 

With joint pain, patients often experience difficulty in the execution of critical tasks such as walking, climbing stairs or inclines, or even motion after sitting for a long period of time. With the advancement of orthopaedic technologies, patients do not have to worry about joint pain for an extended period of time. There are various procedures that can be utilized by your doctor in order to treat your existing condition. You do not have to live with a painful condition. There is always something that you can do to change it. 

In the orthopaedic realm, the two surgical options that exist to alleviate joint pain are joint reconstruction and joint replacement surgery. There is an age old debate about which one is better for the patient. Fortunately, we do have criteria that will enable us to identify a decision point that will determine which of the processes will work best for us. Some of the critical parameters that are involved in the determination of the appropriate procedure include: 

  1. Age – depending on your age one procedure will be more feasible than the other.
  2. Weight – depending on your weight and the extent of damage to the joint, it may be lucrative for one procedure over the next. 
  3. Muscle Strength – this will impact joint integrity

A decision matrix outlined by your orthopaedic surgeon will determine which of the methods will work best for you. Let us now delve into the two methodologies and identify which one could work best for your joint pain. 

Joint Reconstruction

As the name suggests, the joint reconstruction process involves the rebuilding of the joint. New surgical procedures are being developed over time that will optimize this procedure and make it a prime contender to joint reconstruction. Where possible, skilled surgeons do make an effort to salvage a limb or a joint, instead of having to replace the part. This process could take place either in wholes, or in parts of the joint cavity. Orthopaedic surgeons will often determine their plan of action. Joint reconstruction has the advantages of: 

  1. Temporary Relief – in terms of the procedure, joint reconstruction can provide relief. The robustness of the procedure compared to joint replacement is to a lesser extent. 
  2. Recovery times however, are usually shorter and easier. There will also be an associated cost to the procedure which will vary in comparison to the joint replacement. 

The parts of the body that are often treated via reconstructive surgery are places like the ankle, elbow, shoulder, knee and the hip. 

Joint Replacement Surgery

Depending on the severity of the joint pain experienced, the severity of the paint and the extent of joint degradation may result in the orthopaedic surgeon suggesting a total joint replacement. A joint replacement can keep a patient pain free for up to ten years. This could be the best way to get rid of the pain for good. The ideal candidates for joint replacement surgery typically are those persons who are in the later stages of osteoarthritis. The surgical process is often identified as a last resort. The knees are key target areas for joint replacement surgery. 

During this process, the replacement parts for the joints are built from prosthetic biomaterials. Much like orthopaedic scaffolds, the parts will be a fusion of metal and plastic components. 

Once the surgeon has completed the joint replacement surgery, patients usually see results after the appropriate post operative care and healing procedures. 

If you are a candidate that experiences pain due to osteoarthritis, inflammatory conditions such as gout, or even trauma either of these methods will work well for you. An orthopaedic consult will usually determine the path of best healing. 

Reference: 

  1. Joint Reconstruction and Replacement: https://www.orthomedctr.com/joint-reconstruction-and-replacement.php
  2. Joint Reconstruction Versus Replacement: https://www.movementortho.com/2017/03/31/joint-reconstruction-versus-replacement/
  3. Joint Reconstruction Vs Replacement: https://www.advancedboneandjoint.com/joint-reconstruction-vs-joint-replacement/

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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