Joint Preservation vs. Replacement: What’s Your Best Option?

To preserve or to replace – that’s the dilemma many people suffering from chronic or recurring joint pain experience. Most people think replacement is a better option to get rid of the pain. Of course, with the pain they go through, thinking about replacement is obvious. But replacement isn’t the only option. Doctors may also consider preserving the joints based on certain circumstances. Nevertheless, let’s weigh both options to determine the best-suited option.

What is Joint Preservation?

Joint preservation is an orthopedic treatment involving surgical or non-surgical techniques to prevent a degenerating joint from requiring a joint replacement. Preservation aims to restore normal movements and reduce pain.

Since it helps delay surgery and aims to enhance the functioning of the natural joints, it suits younger patients or those with minimal to moderate damage or good cartilage. Further, lifestyle changes, diet, and regular exercises can improve the situation, reduce the pain, restore mobility, and help prevent joint replacement.

What is Joint Replacement?

As the name suggests, joint replacement involves replacing a particular worn-out joint with a plastic, ceramic, or metal device called a prosthesis. The prosthesis replicates the movement of a healthy and normal joint and provides relief from the pain. Joint replacement is an option for people who’ve had severe or long-term joint damage and have exhausted all the non-surgical or preservation-based options. It can be either full or partial depending on the condition.

When to Consider Joint Preservation?

Joint preservation aims to prevent replacement for as long as possible and strengthen the natural joints. It may involve procedures like cartilage repair with the help of grafts from another part of the joint or an absorbable collagen implant that serves as a scaffold. These techniques help correct deformities to improve natural joint functioning and reduce pain.

As for the question of when to consider joint preservation, doctors usually consider the following to make an informed decision.

  • Your age and overall health condition
  • The extent of damage – preservation can suit early-stage damage
  • The level of deformity – Minimal deformity or structural damage can be addressed through joint preservation techniques
  • If you have excess weight and losing the extra pounds can help improve the situation by reducing the additional stress on joints
  • If regular muscle strengthening and flexibility exercises can help reduce joint pain and strain and restore movements

Joint Preservation Techniques (Surgical and Non-Surgical)

Doctors preserve joints in various ways depending on the patient’s health condition and the overall circumstances. Some common ones include the below.

  • Platelet-rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
  • Cartilage transplant
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Partial replacement
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Injections like hyaluronic or corticosteroid

While doctors do their best to preserve the joints, your self-commitment and dedication to restore the normal functioning of your joints play a crucial role.

Benefits of Joint Replacement

On the other hand, joint replacement also has its unique benefits. Some of them include the following.

  • Pain relief
  • Enhanced joint mobility
  • Improved sleep
  • Better quality of life
  • Increased self-dependence
  • Improved emotional well-being
  • Reduced dependence on medications
  • Prevention of further joint damage
  • Long-term solution!

However, you should note that joint replacement is a significant surgical procedure. Hence, post-surgery, you will have a range of rehabilitative measures like physical therapy, medications, etc. to follow.

Joint Preservation vs Joint Replacement – How to Choose the Right Option?

Whether to go for joint replacement or begin with joint preservation depends on various factors. Nevertheless, you should make an informed decision only after a comprehensive consultation with your doctor. The assessment process involves diagnosis to determine the joint condition, its impact on your lifestyle, and prescribing the right option. It also involves explaining the pros and cons of joint replacement and preservation to make the right and educated choice.

Your condition and its impact on your life also matter, though. For example, if the excruciating pain you regularly suffer from is affecting your routine life, joint replacement may be the right option. On the other hand, preferences also hold significance. If you don’t want to undergo surgery and prefer conservative techniques, you may go for joint preservation.

Nonetheless, the decision should remain driven by comprehensive diagnosis and opting for what’s safe and benefits you in the long run.

Need Joint Treatment? Visit Ranka Hospital!

One of the leading orthopedic hospitals in Pune, Ranka Hospital provides personalized treatment and has a proven track record of serving thousands of orthopedic patients successfully. Our doctors diagnose your case thoroughly and prescribe what’s right for you in the long term. Want to meet our doctors? Call us at +91 – 20 – 24261530 to book an appointment.

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