Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure performed by an orthopedic surgeon that alters or completely replaces a joint in the body, usually to restore normal motion and relieve pain in a malformed or diseased joint, such as the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow or ankle. Arthroplasty may also be required due to cartilage that wears out, limb/joint malalignment, joint space narrowing, a stiff joint, disease, or other degenerative or traumatic conditions.

Depending on the severity of the problem with the joint and other factors, resection arthroplasty, interpositional arthroplasty or total joint arthroplasty may be performed.

In resection arthroplasty, the orthopedic surgeon removes a minimal amount of tissue surrounding the joint in an attempt to restore joint function. This may be successful as a first surgical treatment or interpositional arthroplasty can be done. During interpositional arthroplasty the joint is surgically reshaped and, to provide better contact between the sides of the joint, a material (such as metal, plastic, ceramic or the patient’s own soft tissue) is positioned at the site where the joint articulates.

Total joint arthroplasty is a surgical procedure that replaces or treats both sides of the joint articulation or the total joint. Hemiarthroplasty is performed to treat a problem with just one side of a joint. Total joint arthroplasty is typically indicated after a conservative, nonoperative course of therapy has failed.

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