15:45 PM

Who Knew? Joint Replacements You Never Heard Of

Autumn Years discusses various types of joint replacement, such as shoulder, ankle, wrist and small finger joint replacements as a potential treatment option for arthritis, and highlights insight from HSS experts including Geoffrey H. Westrich, MD, hip and knee surgeon, Michael C. Fu, MD, MHS, sports medicine surgeon, Scott W. Wolfe, MD, hand and upper extremity surgeon, Scott J. Ellis, MD, foot and ankle surgeon.

Dr. Westrich explained, “Advances in technology, technique and pain management after surgery have benefitted people who want to get back to activities and live life to the fullest.”

Dr. Fu said shoulder replacement is considered when first-line treatments such as pain medication, activity modification and physical therapy no longer help. “While the primary reason is painful arthritis, the procedure and results have improved to the point where it could be considered for a massive rotator cuff tear or a really bad shoulder fracture,” he added. 

According to Dr. Wolfe, wrist arthritis is one of the most common and debilitating conditions treated by hand surgeons, affecting about 5 million people in the United States. Surgery to fuse together the wrist bones can alleviate pain, but motion is restricted, making it difficult to perform certain activities.

Dr. Wolfe co-designed the KinematX, a new wrist replacement, which has advantages over traditional implants. He explained, “Our extensive research into how the wrist moves helped us design a device that more closely matches the anatomy and complex motion of a normal wrist.”

Dr. Wolfe added, “As with all surgeries we perform at HSS, patients are counseled about treatment options, as well as the potential risks and benefits of each procedure. We customize treatment to the patient’s condition, activity level, needs and goals.”

“Both finger joint replacement and bone fusion relieve pain. The benefits of joint replacement are to preserve motion and function; the main advantage of a fusion is its durability,” said Dr. Wolfe.

Dr. Ellis explained that the last 15 years have brought vast improvements in ankle replacement implants and technology, making the surgery a viable option for many patients suffering from severe arthritis. Unlike knee and hip arthritis, which usually develop over time from wear and tear, ankle arthritis generally results from a severe fracture or repeated ankle sprains.

This article appeared in the Summer 2022 print edition and online at Omagdigital.com.