reconstructive and joint replacement
Today, surgeons can replace joints, freeing patients from pain and restoring their ability to move easily. Not only can doctors replace knee and hip joints, but they also can do the same with ankle, elbow, and shoulder. Total replacement occurs only in cases where pain is severe and no other option is available. Normally, joints function painlessly and easily because cartilage at the ends of bones provides a smooth surface for movement. If cartilage is damaged by disease or injury, joint function can become painful and difficult. When replacement is needed, the surgeon first removes damaged bone and cartilage. These then are replaced with an artificial joint made of metal and plastic. Patients see the best results, if they follow a therapy and exercise program after the operation.