What is joint resurfacing?
Arthritis can take its toll on the major joints of the body, causing debilitating joint pain and interfering with function and range of motion. The root of the problem in the case of this condition is the degeneration of the cartilage in the joints, resulting in bone-on-bone wear and tear.
Joint resurfacing is a technique that addresses the complications associated with arthritis. The goal of these procedures is to repair the areas where the cartilage has deteriorated. During joint resurfacing, holes in the cartilage are filled, allowing a surgeon to smooth the area without dramatically altering the structure of your joints. As a result, you will experience less joint pain and improved function. And, because of the minimally invasive nature of joint resurfacing, you should be able to return to normal activities sooner than you might if you had a complete joint replacement.
Before joint resurfacing
First, you and your physician will discuss details of the surgery itself, including what type of anesthesia you will receive. Additionally, you will want to take steps to get your body in the best shape for surgery. These may include quitting smoking, eating a nutrient-rich diet, not drinking alcohol for 48 hours before the procedure and strengthening your muscles with conditioning exercises.
During joint resurfacing
If your knee is impacted by arthritis, an orthopedic surgeon may perform a partial knee replacement, which involves placing an implant in front of the knee or inside or outside the joint.
If your hip is affected, joint resurfacing will involve replacing the hip socket with a metal cup. Your surgeon will then reshape the deteriorated portion of the hip ball before covering it with a metal prosthesis.
After joint resurfacing
Before you leave the hospital, your joint replacement team will establish a plan for your rehabilitation that may include medications, restrictions and physical therapy to help as you recover from your procedure. Your physical therapist will teach you about exercise options that will help you regain your strength and address how to safely perform daily activities, including tasks such as bathing, dressing and housework.
Most people who have had a joint resurfacing procedure are ready to return to their regular activities an estimated six weeks following the surgery.