Joint Replacement

Hospitals & Locations > Bethesda North Hospital

Joint replacement surgery replaces or resurfaces the bones in a damaged joint to create new joint surfaces. The most common types of joint replacement surgery we perform at Bethesda North Hospital are hip, knee and shoulder.

Hip Replacement

If you have a hip that has been damaged by arthritis, injury or other conditions, you might consider total hip replacement surgery. Hip replacement surgery can relieve pain and increase the range of motion in the hip.

To perform a hip replacement, a surgeon replaces the upper end of the thighbone (femur) with a metal ball and resurfaces the hip socket with a liner made of metal and plastic. Artificial hip joints are available in many types and designs. Your surgeon will select the one that is best for you. 

Currently, we perform two types of hip replacement at Bethesda North: traditional and minimally invasive.

Traditional Hip Replacement

In this surgery, the surgeon makes a 10-to-12-inch incision on the side of the hip. The surgical team dislocates the hip to expose the joint surfaces. The hip socket is resurfaced and the top of the femur is replaced.

Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement

This surgery uses the same implants as traditional hip replacement, but requires either one 3-to-6-inch incision on the outside of the hip or the surgeon may choose a direct anterior approach (from the front of the hip).

Minimally invasive hip replacement can benefit patients through:

  • Reduced injury to the muscle tissue around the hip
  • Less time in the hospital after surgery
  • Less pain during recovery
  • Faster rehabilitation and return to normal activities
  • Talk with your surgeon to find out if you are a good candidate for minimally invasive hip replacement.

Talk with your surgeon to find out if you are a good candidate for minimally invasive hip replacement.

Knee Replacement

If you have a knee that has been severely damaged by arthritis, injury or simple wear and tear, and if knee pain and stiffness limits your activity, you might consider a total knee replacement. Most people who have total knee replacement surgery experience improvement in knee pain, range of motion and the ability to perform the activities of daily life.

To perform a knee replacement, a surgeon caps the ends of the damaged thigh bone (femur) and lower leg bone (shin), and usually the kneecap (patella), with artificial surfaces lined with metal and plastic. 

Many different types of implant designs and materials are used in knee replacement surgeries. Your surgeon will select the best type for you based on factors such as your age, weight and desired level of activity.

Knee replacement surgeries can be divided into three basic types: partial, traditional and minimally invasive.

Partial Knee Replacement

Partial, or unicompartmental, knee replacement is not as common as total knee replacement but is an alternative in some situations. This surgery might be used when just one part, or “compartment,” of a knee joint is damaged. Only that part of the knee joint is replaced.

Traditional Knee Replacement

In this surgery, an incision of about 8 to 10 inches and is made down the front of the knee. The surgery team resurfaces the worn-out surfaces of the knee, replacing lost cartilage and diseased bone with metal and plastic implants. The surgical team carefully positions the implants to assure that the replacement knee will function well.

Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement

Minimally invasive knee replacement involves all the same steps as a traditional knee replacement, but accomplishes the surgery through a smaller incision. The surgeon uses an advanced computer system to determine exact positioning for the implants.

Minimally invasive knee replacement surgery can benefit patients through:

  • Reduced injury to the muscle tissue around the knee
  • Less time in the hospital after surgery
  • Less scarring from the incision
  • Faster rehabilitation and return to normal activities

Talk with your physician and surgeon to find out if you are a good candidate for minimally invasive knee replacement.

Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder replacement surgery is not as common as hip or knee replacement, but can be just as effective in relieving pain, increasing range of motion and improving strength in the shoulder.

Shoulder replacement may be an option for you if you have shoulder pain or stiffness resulting from:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Arthritis resulting from an injury
  • Arthritis combined with a non-repairable rotator cuff tear

To perform a shoulder replacement, a surgeon replaces the damaged ends of the upper arm bone and shoulder bone, or caps them with implants made of plastic and/or metal.

Two common types of shoulder replacement are traditional and reverse.

Traditional Shoulder Replacement

This type of shoulder replacement is generally used with patients whose rotator cuff tendons are intact. The joint surfaces are replaced with a metal ball and a plastic socket. Sometimes, if the shoulder socket is not damaged, the surgeon replaces only the ball of the joint.

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

This type of shoulder replacement is generally used for people who have torn rotator cuffs or who had a previous shoulder implant that failed.  This surgery is very similar to a traditional shoulder replacement, except it switches the positions of the ball and socket of the shoulder joint. After surgery, this allows the patient to use the deltoid muscle, rather than the torn rotator cuff, to lift the arm.

Talk with your surgeon to find out if you are a good candidate for reverse total shoulder replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions about Joint Replacement

How long does surgery take?

We plan on two to three hours for surgery. Some of this time is for preparation before the surgery starts.

Do I need to be put to sleep for this surgery?

You may have general anesthesia, which most refer to as “being put to sleep.” Some patients require a spinal or epidural anesthetic that numbs the legs and allows the patient to be awake. The choice is made between you, your doctor and the anesthesiologist.

What are the major risks of surgery?

Most surgeries go well without any complications. Infection and blood clots are two serious complications. To prevent these, we use antibiotic therapy before and after surgery, and use blood thinning medications and special support socks for your legs.

Will I need blood?

Usually, you will not. Blood is a scarce commodity, and not without complications of its own. TriHealth has blood management programs that proactively address the problems leading to anemia after surgery. As a result, the need for a transfusion is greatly diminished. In the rare instance that a transfusion is needed, blood bank blood is available.

Will I need help at home?

Yes, for the first several days or weeks, depending on how you progress. Usually, family or friends can provide the assistance you need. Your care coordinator will help arrange a home health nurse or therapist to visit and will help set up a therapy schedule as needed.

Will I need physical therapy when I go home?

Yes, you will have either outpatient or in-home therapy. Patients are encouraged to use outpatient therapy. Your care coordinator will help you arrange your appointment at a location convenient to you. If you need the therapist to come into your home, we will set this up before you leave. The length of time for therapy varies with each patient.

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