Sarah Lewis, PharmD

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.

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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.

Why is arthroplasty performed? 

Your doctor may recommend an arthroplasty to treat severe joint damage caused by: 

  • Joint infections, also called septic arthritis

  • Joint injuries, including fractures, torn ligaments, and torn cartilage, which may le