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What is arthroplasty?

Arthroplasty, sometimes called joint replacement surgery, is the replacement or repair of a diseased joint. Joints are the areas where two bones meet. Common types of arthroplasty include hip, knee, and shoulder repair or replacement.

Joints contain ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and lubricating fluid. Arthroplasty involves removing arthritic or damaged surfaces of bone and replacing them with artificial material or an implant called a prosthesis. Arthroplasty can restore pain-free motion and full function in a diseased joint.

Arthroplasty is a common but major surgery with significant risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having an arthroplasty. 

Types of arthroplasty

The types of arthroplasty procedures include:

  • Hemiarthroplasty (partial arthroplasty) is the removal and replacement of one side or part of the joint.

  • Total arthroplasty is the removal and replacement of an entire joint.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 4, 2013

© 2015 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

  1. Arthroplasty. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/glossary.cfm
  2. Arthroplasty. Yale School of Medicine Patient Care. http://www.yalemedicalgroup.org/stw/Page.asp?PageID=STW028955
  3. Joint Replacement Surgery. Arthroplasty Association of North America. http://www.aana.org/EducationLibrary/Articles/JointReplacementSurgery/tabid/128/Default.aspx
  4. Joint Replacement Surgery: Information for Multicultural Communities. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Joint_Replacement/default.asp#7
  5. Joint Surgery. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/jointsurgery.pdf
  6. Jolles BM, Bogoch ER. Posterior versus lateral surgical approach for total hip arthroplasty in adults with osteoarthritis. The Cochrane Collaboration, Cochrane Reviews. http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab003828.html
  7. Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00404
  8. Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf
  9. Preparing for Joint Replacement Surgery. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00220

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