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Total Joint Replacement Trends: Technology Advances Are Increasing Surgical Rates and Patient Satisfaction

Posted October 31, 2022 by Kiel Pfefferle, MD

Man in a cycling class

Do you have a bad hip? Achy knees? If you’re suffering from chronic joint pain, a total joint replacement can provide you with a better quality of life that includes less pain, improved motion and strength that you require for an active lifestyle.

Cartilage in joints naturally protects the bones from rubbing together. But when cartilage deteriorates due to injury, aging or disease, such as arthritis or obesity, bones begin rubbing together while in motion. This results in severe pain, inflammation and even limited movement.

Total joint replacements are among the most common elective surgical procedures performed today. In most cases, total joint replacements are performed on the hip and knees, but replacement surgery also occurs on the ankle, wrist, shoulder and elbow. During the surgical procedure, parts of an arthritic or damaged joint are removed and replaced with a prosthetic one designed to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint.

But contrary to what you may believe, joint replacement is no longer just for people over the age of 65. In the last decade, advances in technology and surgical techniques, better implants, faster recovery times and higher success rates are encouraging more people than ever to elect to have total joint replacements — even at increasingly younger ages.

In fact, by 2030, hip replacements are expected to reach 635,000 (171 percent increase), while knee replacements could reach 1.28 million (189 percent increase), according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Why the increase in total joint replacements?

When you combine high patient satisfaction with an aging population and obesity epidemic that puts more wear and tear on joints, it’s not a surprise total joint replacements are increasing at a substantial rate.

Robotics for increased precision

Robotic technology has dramatically improved hip and knee replacements by allowing highly accurate positioning and alignment of joint implants.

For example, the VELYS™ Robotic-Assisted Solution provides a variety of advanced technologies to perform highly accurate and precise knee replacement surgery. It is designed to provide insights for real-time decision making, help remove the damaged bone with accuracy, and gather necessary data about a patient’s anatomy through an infrared camera and optical trackers for a higher level of precision.

Compared to traditional methods, robotic-assisted technology has shown to deliver a greater range of motion, less pain and faster recovery times for patients of total joint replacement surgery.

Advanced techniques and innovative procedures

Many total joint replacements are being performed on an outpatient basis, with patients returning home the same day as surgery, due to advanced technology and innovative procedures.

Take for example, the minimally invasive anterior hip replacement surgery is helping patients recover more quickly than ever before. In this approach, the surgeon accesses the hip joint by making a small incision at the front of the hip, near the groin. It offers good access to the hip without the need to detach any of the muscles or tendons, which reduces muscle damage. This allows patients to experience faster post-operative recovery, less pain and fewer complications than a traditional total hip replacement.

Better materials

Traditionally, artificial joints were made of metal or a combination of metal and plastic, but the hard metal would wear away the new joint and, in some cases, release harmful particles in the body. These implants typically lasted 10 to 15 years.

Today, better materials, such as plastic and ceramic, instead of metal, are being used for implants that last longer and hold up to more wear and tear. In fact, most hip and knee replacements can last up to 20 years or more.

Summa Health’s Joint Replacement Center of Excellence celebrates first anniversary

Opened in early 2022 on Summa Health System – Barberton Campus, our Joint Replacement Center of Excellence is home to a highly specialized orthopedic team dedicated to providing high-quality, comprehensive orthopedic care for total hip and knee replacement patients, all while enhancing the patient experience throughout every phase of treatment.

Our center offers the latest in robotic surgery and innovative procedures to help eliminate pain, deliver greater range of motion and faster recovery times for patients. We incorporate the latest in technology, including digital hip navigation and minimally invasive anterior hip replacement surgery. In addition, we are the first in the region to utilize VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution to perform highly accurate and precise knee replacement surgery.

Our 7,000-plus square foot center was designed with orthopedic patients in mind to ensure a convenient, seamless experience — from the time they arrive for education through their post-op appointments. The center offers concierge care delivery in a hotel health-care setting, boasting eight private patient suites, a spacious family waiting room, valet parking and post-surgery take-home gifts.

If you’re suffering from chronic joint pain, Summa Health’s Joint Replacement Center of Excellence is here to help patients everywhere regain their freedom and participate in the activities they once most enjoyed. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 888.202.1389.


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