According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, total knee replacement surgery was the top most common procedure for musculoskeletal-related hospitalizations in 2004 at 478,000 while total hip replacement ranked third on the list at 324,000. With the number of hip and knee joint replacement surgeries more than doubling in the last decade -- the stereotype that only the aged and inactive undergo the procedure is now being challenged.
WHAT IS JOINT REPLACEMENT SURGERY?
Joint replacement surgery, otherwise known as arthroplasty, is considered one of the most successful treatments for patients with osteoarthritis, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The two most common joints are the knee and hip. The surgery is done on patients whose joints have become damaged by disease or injury.
Joints are formed by two ends of bone connected by a soft, protected cushion called cartilage. If cartilage tissue becomes damaged, it does not allow the joints to move in a smooth manner. Initially, the inflammation of the tissue causes pain, but as the cartilage wears away the bones begin to rub against one another and cause even more pain.