Rheumatoid Arthritis and Arthroplasty: Advanced Surgical Solutions for Knee and Hip Joint Inflammation

 

You’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for years, causing increasing pain and stiffness in your knees and hips. The breakdown of cartilage in your joints makes even everyday tasks difficult. Fortunately, there are solutions. In this article, we explore the latest advances in hip and knee surgery for rheumatoid arthritis patients. We will discuss custom-made joint implants that can restore mobility and reduce pain significantly. You will also learn how minimally invasive surgical techniques speed up recovery. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about options that will significantly improve your quality of life.

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis and Its Impact on Joints

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints. It most commonly affects the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and feet.

  • Chronic joint inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis can cause damage to the articular cartilage and underlying bone. This leads to pain, morning stiffness, swelling, and progressive loss of mobility.
  • If left untreated, persistent inflammation can lead to irreversible joint deformities. The most commonly affected joints are the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet.
  • In the knee, rheumatoid arthritis usually causes wear and tear on the cartilage on the internal and external joint surfaces. This causes pain, swelling, deformity and instability of the knee.
  • For the hip, chronic inflammation gradually damages the articular cartilage. This leads to wear and tear on the cartilage, bone deformities and painful loss of mobility.

Faced with this joint damage, surgical solutions such as knee or hip replacement surgery may be necessary. We will look at these interventions in detail in the rest of this article.

Knee and Hip Arthroplasty: Advanced Surgical Solutions

  • Knee and hip arthroplasty are advanced surgical solutions to treat the severe inflammation and breakdown of joints caused by rheumatoid arthritis. These procedures replace damaged joint surfaces with artificial implants to reduce pain and improve mobility.
  • During a total knee replacement, the ends of the femur bone and tibia are removed and replaced with metal and plastic components. An artificial kneecap can also be fitted. This procedure realigns the joint and stabilizes it.
  • For the hip, the head of the femur is removed and replaced with a femoral stem with a metal or ceramic articular head. The acetabulum (the cavity) is also replaced by a metal or ceramic cup with a plastic insert. The procedure aims to reduce pain and restore function.
  • Although complex, knee and hip replacements are common and generally safe procedures when performed by an experienced surgeon. Post-operative rehabilitation is crucial to regain strength and mobility.
  • With advances in surgical techniques and implants, the lifespan of prostheses has increased considerably. However, some wear and tear is inevitable and a surgical revision may be necessary after 10-15 years.
  • For patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis, joint replacement surgery can greatly improve quality of life by relieving debilitating joint pain. However, a careful assessment of the risks and benefits by your rheumatologist is essential before considering this major procedure.

To find out if arthroplastic surgery is recommended in your case, please make an appointment with Dr. Benoit by filling out the following form, or contact his assistant at 514 331-1400

Recovery and Rehabilitation After Joint Replacement

  • After a total knee or hip replacement, rehabilitation will be a crucial step in regaining mobility and independence. It is important to follow the recommendations of your surgeon and physiotherapist.
  • From the day of surgery, rehabilitation will begin with simple exercises in bed or in the chair to regain the range of motion of the operated joint. Physiotherapy sessions will also help you get up, walk and climb stairs safely.
  • Once you get home, continue with the exercises indicated by the physiotherapist to strengthen the muscles around the joint. Walk regularly, gradually increasing the duration of outings.
  • It takes 3 to 6 months to fully recover. Be patient and persistent in your rehabilitation efforts to regain your abilities.
  • Avoid straining the operated joint and making certain movements during the first few months, such as squatting or kneeling. Follow your surgeon’s instructions.
  • By actively involved in your rehabilitation and adopting a healthy lifestyle (regular physical activity, balanced diet, smoking cessation), you will optimize your recovery and regain mobility and quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rheumatoid Arthritis and Orthopedic Surgeries

The decision to undergo orthopedic surgery for rheumatoid arthritis can raise many questions. Here are answers to common questions:

  • What are the benefits of knee or hip replacement for rheumatoid arthritis?
    • Arthroplasty (joint replacement) can greatly relieve pain and improve the mobility and functionality of the joint. This often makes it possible to resume abandoned activities.
  • What are the risks?
    • As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection, bleeding, nerve damage, or anesthetic complications. Your orthopedic surgeon will discuss the specific risks.
  • How does the recovery work?
    • You will probably have to stay in the hospital for 2-5 days. Rehabilitation usually begins the day after surgery. Most patients walk in 2-3 weeks with a cane. A full recovery usually takes 3-6 months.
  • How long does a hip or knee replacement last?
    • With modern techniques, more than 90% of total hip or knee replacements last more than 15 years. Age, weight, and activity level affect sustainability.
  • When should you consider this type of surgery?
    • When pain and loss of mobility severely affect your quality of life despite medication and physiotherapy. Your orthopedic surgeon can help you determine the right time.

Don’t hesitate to ask your orthopedic surgeon any questions you may have to make an informed decision. Surgery at the right time can greatly improve your quality of life with rheumatoid arthritis.

Conclusion

Ultimately, it’s clear that with advances in orthopedic surgery, you have many options for pain relief and improve your mobility if you have rheumatoid arthritis in the knee or hip. While medication and physical therapy can help, total or partial joint replacement surgery is often the best long-term solution. By discussing the risks and benefits with your orthopedic surgeon, you can determine which procedure is best for you. With a well-planned procedure and proper rehabilitation, you can expect to regain a better quality of life and more comfort in your daily activities.