Experience, Expertise Matter
A joint replacement is a complicated, precision operation involving nerves, muscles, bones, tendons and blood supply. All aspects of the procedure must be handled with the utmost expertise – from helping the patient prepare to selecting the implant, performing the intricate surgery, and planning recovery and rehabilitation.
Statistics show that the more experienced and trained the surgeon is, the better the patient outcome. Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin orthopaedic surgeons and plastic and reconstructive surgeons offer procedures including:
- Shoulder replacement
- Elbow replacement
- Finger joint replacement and knuckle replacement
The entire Froedtert & Medical College team – including surgeons, nurses, physical and occupational therapists and many others – have access to the latest equipment, research and knowledge that shapes the best possible care for patients. Learn more about our Exceptional Staff.
When Is It Time for Joint Replacement?
Shoulder replacement, elbow replacement and finger or knuckle replacement surgery may be recommended when other treatments no longer offer relief from symptoms. Replacing diseased or damaged joints with an artificial joint may offer relief from arthritis, overuse, injury and other conditions. The new parts allow the joints to move and function with less restriction and less pain.
A similar procedure, called joint revision surgery, may also be performed to replace an artificial joint that has become worn or damaged.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
In general, joint replacement surgery and joint revision surgery requires a surgical incision to expose the affected joint. The diseased joint or parts of the joint are removed and the area surrounding the new joint will be prepared. New joint components may be cemented or screwed into place. In many cases, a variety of materials and sizes of joints are available to provide the best fit and function for patients.
Once all components are secure, the joint area will be stitched together. Associated muscles and tendons will be repaired and blood supplies re-established before the incision is closed. Shoulder replacement and elbow replacement surgeries require patients to stay a night or two in the hospital depending on the extent of the procedure, the patient’s age and other variables. Finger joint replacement and knuckle replacement can often be done as outpatient procedures.
What Can I Expect of Recovery?
Recovery from joint replacement surgery and joint revision surgery in the hands and upper extremities may take two to six months or longer in some cases. Our hand and upper extremity services therapists work closely with patients and their surgeons. These professionals create an individualized plan for rehabilitation and therapy that starts shortly after the procedure and helps patients return to optimal function as soon as possible.
Staff will help patients learn to function with casts, slings and other devices that protect their recovering joints and promote recovery. Learn more about hand and upper extremity therapy services.
How Long do Artificial Joints Last?
Many factors determine how long a joint replacement will last. These variables include the patient’s age, activity level, bone health and strength, and the presence of other medical conditions. Like any mechanical device, artificial joints eventually wear out or loosen. In these cases, revision (repeat) surgery may be required.