Total Joint Replacement FAQs

If you have a painful joint that’s limiting your activities, total joint replacement is an option for you. During total joint replacement, your orthopedic surgeon replaces the bad joint with long-lasting artificial joints that work like a healthy joint. The most common joint replacements are for the hip or knee.  


Joint pain can be caused by arthritis, an injury or the joint simply wearing out. Total joint replacement may be the right treatment if:

  • Other treatments haven’t reduced your pain or increased your mobility
  • You have chronic pain or stiffness that make normal activities hard
  • Your joint hurts even while resting
  • You have progressive arthritis
  • You had a joint injury

While all surgeries have some risk, total joint replacements have been done successfully for years and are considered low-risk. Most complications can be treated easily, but they could include:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve damage
  • Persistent pain after surgery
  • Implant complications

Joint replacement surgery can last several hours. Your orthopedic surgeon will make a small incision, remove the injured parts of the joint and replace them with artificial parts. They will check the joint to make sure the replacement parts are working properly then close the incision.

Before surgery, choose friends and loved ones who can help you at home during recovery — including wound care. Talk to your doctor about your options so you can manage your pain and stay comfortable. Work with your physical therapist as recommended.

Joint replacements can last 10 to 15 years on average but have lasted up to 25 years for some patients.

Be careful of activities like running, jumping and heavy lifting that could wear out your joint faster. Sports that involve contact can also damage your joint. Talk to your doctor about how to care for your joint replacement long-term.