Addressing Chronic Joint Pain With Surgery

Unrelenting joint pain can be debilitating, affecting daily activities and overall quality of life. Almost every person will experience joint pain at some point in life, but some individuals will have chronic pain that requires constant care. A doctor may suggest joint replacement surgery if conservative treatments haven’t provided relief. While total joint replacement is a well-known procedure, partial joint replacement surgery is gaining popularity as an excellent middle ground.

Understanding partial joint replacement

Also referred to as unicompartmental or hemiarthroplasty, partial joint replacement surgery treats joint pain and restores function in a specific part of the joint. Unlike total joint replacement, which replaces the entire joint, partial joint replacement focuses on only an affected compartment. Today, doctors use minimally invasive surgery (MIS) to complete the process. The targeted approach of a partial replacement offers 3 immediate benefits that can positively impact the patient’s life.

1. Faster recovery and rehabilitation

After undergoing partial joint replacement surgery with MIS, patients generally experience a quicker recovery compared to those who undergo total joint replacement. Due to the smaller surgical incisions, patients often experience less pain, swelling, and discomfort following the procedure. Partial joint replacement allows for early mobilization and weight-bearing, crucial for a speedier recovery. Patients can start moving the joint soon after surgery, promoting circulation and preventing stiffness. Physical therapy (PT) can also begin sooner, helping patients regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion (ROM) faster.

2. Preservation of healthy tissues

Since only the damaged portion of the joint is addressed, the surrounding healthy tissues and ligaments remain intact. Unlike total joint replacement, where the entire joint is replaced, partial joint replacement preserves healthy bone, cartilage, and ligaments. This is particularly advantageous for younger or more active individuals who wish to maintain the natural mechanics of the joint. By retaining these healthy structures, partial joint replacement promotes better long-term joint function and reduces the likelihood of complications. Think of the joint as a finely tuned orchestra. Each instrument or component is crucial in creating beautiful music or movement. Partial joint replacement allows the skilled surgeon to replace only the out-of-tune instrument, preserving the harmony of the entire joint.

3. Minimized surgical risks and complications

Since partial joint replacement surgery involves a smaller incision and addresses a specific part of the joint, there is a reduced risk of surgical complications. The focused nature of the procedure leads to less trauma, bleeding, and overall stress on the body. This approach also reduces the risk of infection, blood clots, and other potential post-operative issues, allowing patients to return to everyday life quickly.

Partial surgery, total benefits

People who opt for a partial joint replacement surgery experience many immediate benefits that can significantly enhance the post-operative experience. From faster recovery and rehabilitation to preserving healthy joint components and minimizing surgical risks, this procedure presents a compelling alternative to total joint replacement. By understanding and exploring the advantages of partial joint replacement surgery, patients can decide on the best treatment option for joint pain. After a short recovery period, individuals can enjoy a healthy, pain-free knee.