Arthroplasty is a joint reconstruction procedure used to either reshape or replace damaged joints – as a result of degenerative conditions such as arthritis. The goal of this procedure is to restore the function of a stiffened joint and relieve pain. It has been used for years in hip and knee joints, in order to relieve the pain and disability associated with advanced osteoarthritis.

There are primarily two types of arthroplastic procedures: joint resection and interpositional reconstruction. In a joint resection, a portion of the bone is removed from the the stiffened joint to allow additional space and room for improved range of motion.

Interpositional reconstruction entails reshaping the joint and placing a prosthetic disk between the two bones that form the joint.

And total joint arthroplasty is the complete replacement of the joint with an artificial one.

A prosthesis, or artificial joint, may be made of plastic, metal, silicone and ceramic material – or created from body tissue such as skin, muscle or fascia. Artificial joints are generally cemented into place once soft tissue is temporarily moved aside and a space within the deteriorating joint is cleared.

The type of prosthesis depends on the joint being replaced. Silicon hinges are proving effective in smaller finger (phalangeal) joints

More recently, a growing number of prostheses and implants have been created for upper extremity joints. And those for the thumb and wrist joints continue to evolve as understanding of small articular surfaces with complex curvatures improves.

Improved technology in small joint implants is evident in the reduced recovery time and outcome in CMC Arthroplasty reconstruction patients treated with a new small bone implant. A CMC Arthroplasty procedure entails removing one of the carpal bones of the wrist and filling the space with a portion of the flexor carpi radialis tendon. The thumb bone (first metacarpal) is firmly secured until the inserted tissue becomes encapsulated.

Before any joint reconstruction procedure is complete, a series of tests are performed to ensure proper range of motion and correct movement.

Total Joint Arthroplasty

The crippling effects of arthritis on the small finger joints can in severe cases make even simple tasks, such as buttoning a shirt or holding a pen, difficult. Severe contractures can lock fingers into positions that make many daily tasks impossible. As joint deterioration continues, pain increases. In such cases, metacarpal phalangeal (MP) joint replacement can correct deformity, help restore function, and relieve pain.

A total wrist replacement, or wrist arthroplasty, is indicated when a wrist that has sustained a traumatic injury or has been affected by a severe degenerative disease such as arthritis is nonresponsive to other treatments and is no longer able to function properly. In some cases patients suffer from severe pain in the wrist and may have lost the ability to use it. Replacing the wrist joint with an artificial one helps eliminate pain and recover diminished strength in the wrist, by restoring length to the muscles and tendons of the fingers and wrist. This improves motion and stability necessary to perform everyday activities.

Elbow arthroplasty is commonly performed for the same reason as those mentioned above – joint damage resulting from arthritis – and is considered only after all other treatment options have first been exhausted. The artificial joint replaces the damaged surfaces and eliminates the pain of bone rubbing against bone, while also improving elbow movement.

Joint replacement of the elbow may also be required when elbow fractures in elderly patients suffering from osteoporosis make fixation of the soft bone an impossibility.