The Basics of Joint Replacement Surgery

temporomandibular joint Image: webmd.com
temporomandibular joint
Image: webmd.com

 

An oral maxillofacial surgeon, Rocky Cullens, DDS, is the president of Tulsa Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Also the only oral maxillofacial surgeon at WW Hastings Hospital, Dr. Rocky Cullens was part of the team that performed the first successful total joint replacement of the temporomandibular joint at the hospital.

Joint replacement surgery involves removing a damaged joint and replacing it with a new one. Joints can become damaged as a result of diseases such as arthritis, injury, or as a result of old age. This can cause stiffness, swelling, discomfort, and pain.

Medical doctors determine whether joint replacement surgery is appropriate. To do this, they examine the joint through an x-ray machine or, in other cases, by inserting a tiny, lighted tube into the joint to have a closer look at the damage.

During joint replacement surgery, the damaged joint is removed and a new joint, known as a prosthesis, is used as a replacement. The prosthesis can be made from metal, plastic, or ceramic and imitates the shape and movement of natural joints.

Recovery time from joint replacement surgery varies, depending on how damaged the joints were and how the surgery was performed. A healthy lifestyle coupled with appropriate exercise will help speed recovery.

Joint replacement has become a common surgical procedure in the United States. Every year, more than 1 million Americans have their joints replaced. Hip and knee replacements make up the majority of these surgeries.

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