No one’s joints can avoid the consequences of aging. Our joints are involved in almost every physical activity we perform. A hip or knee can become diseased or injured as we age, causing pain that can significantly limit the ability to perform daily movements that require the use of our joints.
Each person is unique, and can experience joint pain for different reasons. A common cause of hip or knee pain is Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease. Over time, normal wear and tear breaks down the cartilage that cushions our bones causing joints to become stiff and painful as bone rubs against bone.
Decreased mobility produced by osteoarthritis is causing individuals to seek new treatments options. The good news? Innovations in joint replacements are breaking new ground to help individuals lead a more active life.
If you haven’t experienced sufficient relief with conventional treatment options, your doctor may recommend a joint replacement – a surgical procedure which removes arthritic bone and damaged cartilage and replaces them with implants that are designed to replicate the hip or knee joint.
Joint replacement techniques and instrumentation have undergone numerous improvements in surgical accuracy and patient outcomes. One example of how technology is transforming the way joint replacement surgeries are being performed is robotic-arm assisted surgery.
Robotic-arm assisted surgery is providing innovative solutions for patients who suffer from non-inflammatory or inflammatory degenerative joint diseases. It’s important to understand that surgery is still performed by an orthopedic surgeon, not the robotic-arm.
As imaging technology has advanced, allowing surgeons to use 3D virtual modeling to help execute a pre-determined surgical plan based on a patient’s unique anatomy. The use of robotics surgery provides increased stability and precision for a more accurate placement and alignment of implants. This helps the surgeon to concentrate on removal of diseased bone, preserve healthy bone, and position the implant.
Additionally there have been surgical advances in pain management to provide a more comfortable patient experience with longer-lasting nerve blocks around the joints.
Joint pain doesn’t have to result in the end of an active lifestyle. Joint replacement can help you take control of your pain and improve your quality of life. If you are experiencing symptoms or pain, speak to your doctor to decide if robotic-arm assisted surgery is appropriate for you.
Dr. Kevin Reagan is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and is the Medical Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Day Kimball Hospital where he performs total joint replacement surgery. For more resources on orthopedic services available at Day Kimball Hospital, visit www.daykimball.org/orthopedics.