Joint Replacement in Dearborn & Jackson, MichiganLearn more about conditions that require joint replacement, including what’s involved with treatment and what to expect during recovery. Orthopedic Surgeon Also Serving Ann Arbor, Allen Park, Trenton, & ChelseaHow Joints WorkJoints are the points at which two or more bones meet. In total, the human body has 360 joints. A properly functioning joint allows all the connected bones to move in a smooth and efficient manner. It must be flexible enough to permit all bones to move as intended, while strong enough to ensure that the bones are held together.Muscles and ligaments are essential components of each joint since they help link the bones together and provide the necessary strength to move the bones. Cartilage at the end of the bones protects them as they come in contact with each other, behaving similar to a shock absorber. Synoviocytes and bursa are fluid-like substances that help to minimize friction at the joints to prevent damage.Joint replacement surgery can help you overcome chronic pain and recapture an active, independent lifestyle. But the decision to undergo joint replacement surgery should not be made casually. Rather, you should carefully consider your options, plan and prepare for surgery with the guidance of our experienced orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Alfred Faulkner.Dr. Faulkner understands that you probably have plenty of questions and perhaps some concerns about joint replacement. He will educate you about the procedure and help you confidently make decisions about your care. Most importantly, Dr. Faulkner will treat you with kindness, compassion and patience as you face this important surgery.When Is Joint Replacement Recommended?Joint replacement is performed to treat problems stemming from a traumatic injury to the joints, such as severe fractures, or to replace joints that have substantially deteriorated due to osteoarthritis, traumatic arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. The most commonly replaced joints are the hip, knee, shoulder and ankle.In your case, Dr. Faulkner will perform a thorough examination of the affected joint using X-rays and possibly MRIs. The two of you will have a candid discussion of the normal daily activities that are impeded due to your injury or condition, the effect of the problem on your physical and psychological health and the consequences of not replacing the joint. Factors such as your general health, the severity of your joint problem or injury and the extent of your resulting disability will influence Dr. Faulkner’s recommendations.Dr. Faulkner usually suggests exhausting all other non-surgical alternatives, such as medications, physical therapy and lifestyle changes, before recommending joint replacement. If those modalities fail to alleviate your pain and disability, joint replacement can provide pain relief, restore functionality and improve your quality of life. Dr. Faulkner will review all of the potential risks of surgery so you feel completely informed of your options.Joint Replacement Surgical DetailsJoint replacement surgery is performed in a hospital or outpatient surgery center and takes a few hours. During joint replacement, damaged tissues from the bones that connect to form the joint are removed, and prosthetic parts are implanted to restore the joint. In a total joint replacement, the entire joint is replaced with artificial parts; in a partial replacement, only a portion of the joint is replaced. Dr. Faulkner will recommend the procedure that is best for your injury or condition based on the extent of the damage and the unique circumstances of your case.Joint Replacement RecoveryA short hospital stay may be necessary or you may be able to go home the same day after joint replacement surgery. The recovery timeline varies from patient to patient, but you can expect it to take up to a few months. Physical therapy and exercises are recommended to help rehabilitate the affected joint and improve your mobility and range of motion. Risks Associated with Joint Replacement SurgeryAs with any surgical procedure, joint replacement does carry a small risk for potential complications. You may experience infection, nerve damage and blood clots. These risks are minor compared to the pain and limited mobility patients who forego joint replacement surgery generally experience.Joint Replacement CostsThe price for joint replacement surgery depends on which joint needs replacement and the extent of the damage. During a consultation, Dr. Faulkner can assess your injury and give you a cost breakdown of the procedure. Joint replacement is typically covered (at least in part) by insurance plans; Dr. Faulkner’s team can ensure you maximize the benefits you are entitled to so that out-of-pocket expenses are kept to a minimum.Joint Replacement Surgery FAQsWhat kind of pain will I experience after surgery?You can expect some discomfort after joint replacement surgery, though the pain can be managed with prescription painkillers. Dr. Faulkner will recommend medication and techniques like ice packs to keep you as comfortable as possible during your recovery. Please follow his recommendations for your own health and safety.Is it necessary to do physical therapy after joint replacement surgery?Physical therapy is a core component of a successful recovery from joint replacement surgery and restoring the complete functionality of your joint. Working with an expert allows you to expand your range of mobility at a safe, approved pace so that you do not experience unnecessary pain or reinjure yourself. Although some patients choose to forego physical therapy, Dr. Faulkner strongly discourages this decision.How long does a joint replacement last in the body?Modern day joint replacements tend to last about 10 to 20 years before further action (like a second replacement) may become necessary. The timeline can differ significantly depending on the patient’s health, age, weight, activity level and the specific joint that has been repaired. Choosing an expert doctor like Dr. Faulkner with a proven track record of successful joint replacement surgeries is a good way to ensure that the results last.Is replacement surgery always necessary after a joint injury?No, in many cases Dr. Faulkner can recommend alternative forms of treatment including medication and physical therapy to help patients with a faulty joint. In fact, he likes to discuss all options available with his patients and usually recommends trying less invasive treatments before deciding that surgery is absolutely necessary. Patients can expect transparency and top-level care from Dr. Faulkner.Discuss Joint Replacement Surgery with Dr. FaulknerAlthough joint replacement surgery is not for everyone, for the right candidates it can be life-changing. Dr. Faulkner would be happy to discuss your options and provide expert guidance as you face this critical decision. To request a consultation with him, please call or email our practice.