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Is osteoarthritis surgery for me?

Most people with osteoarthritis never need surgery. However, your doctor may recommend surgery if despite other treatment:

  • you continue to have pain
  • you continue to lose the function of your joint
  • you have ongoing problems performing daily activities

Surgery can ease pain, improve joint movement, provide stability to a joint, and restore your ability to do your usual activities. Your doctor may consider the following surgical procedures:

  • osteotomy and fusion
  • total joint replacement

What is osteotomy?

Osteotomy is an operation that involves cutting a deformed bone and then realigning or fusing it so that pain is relieved. It can help restore the function of the joint and possibly prevent further damage from the condition.

What is total joint replacement?

With a total joint replacement, surgeons replace a diseased knee or hip joint with metal, ceramic, or plastic parts. Surgeons perform most of these operations in older patients. This is because artificial joints don't fully restore range of motion and cannot withstand rough, physical activity. For 6 to 8 weeks after surgery, the person usually wears a cast or brace. About 80% of people who have joint replacement in the knee recover by 6 weeks after the surgery and continue to improve gradually over the next 3 to 6 months. Recovery time can be shorter, depending on your condition before the operation and which joint was replaced. Most older persons can expect their joint replacement to last for more than 10 years.