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What to Ask About Knee Osteoarthritis

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

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Medical References

Arthroplasty. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Accessed April 18, 2013.
Arthroplasty. Yale School of Medicine Patient Care. Accessed April 18, 2013.
Joint Replacement Surgery. Arthroplasty Association of North America. Accessed April 18, 2013.
Joint Replacement Surgery: Information for Multicultural Communities. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Accessed April 18, 2013.
Joint Surgery. American College of Rheumatology. Accessed April 18, 2013.
Jolles BM, Bogoch ER. Posterior versus lateral surgical approach for total hip arthroplasty in adults with osteoarthritis. The Cochrane Collaboration, Cochrane Reviews. Accessed April 18, 2013.
Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Accessed April 18, 2013.
Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. Accessed April 18, 2013
Preparing for Joint Replacement Surgery. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Accessed April 18, 2013.

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