Specialised Joint Replacement Surgeons Offer a Return to Pain-Free Mobility
For anyone whose every hip, knee, or shoulder movement is accompanied by pain, or who has found that its intensity makes any attempt at such actions more than he or she is able to bear, the desire to gain some relief is nothing less than overwhelming. In the earlier stages, relief may have been possible with the use of prescription painkillers or, in more extreme cases, with the aid of steroid injections. Fortunately, when even the latter can no longer provide the desired relief, suitably qualified orthopaedic surgeons are now able to resolve such problems with an appropriate joint replacement procedure.
In those cases where the damage appears relatively limited, the specialist may choose to replace only a part of the affected joint, and to restrict the full procedure for those displaying more extensive damage. Often, X-rays and scans fail to provide sufficient details for a definite diagnosis, and an orthopaedic specialist will need to perform a procedure known as arthroscopy to obtain a detailed, live image of any definitive pathology that could help to determine the next step. Interestingly, while both the partial and total replacement of hip and shoulder joints require a more radical approach, many surgeons now use arthroscopy routinely to replace part of the knee joint.
The damaged bone and cartilage is replaced with prosthetic parts made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, titanium, tantalum, cobalt-chromium alloys, polyethylene, and ceramics. Where the purpose of a knee operation, for instance, is to repair both of the articulating surfaces, the damaged cartilage of the femoral head will be replaced with metal, and that of the tibia with plastic, in order to restore smooth movement. Occasionally, the inner surface of the kneecap may also require a plastic liner. Specialised joint replacement surgeons have perfected the technique to the point where it is now considered to be one of the most successful orthopaedic procedures of all time.
In this regard, few have proved to be more successful than our team at Life Wilgers Hospital in Pretoria, which now attracts numerous international referrals.