Joint replacement surgery removes damaged or diseased parts of a joint and replaces them with new, man-made parts. Replacing a joint can reduce pain and help you move and feel better. Hips and knees are replaced most often. Other joints that can be replaced include the shoulders, fingers, ankles, and elbows.Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which parts of an arthritic or damaged joint are removed and replaced with a metal, plastic or ceramic device called a prosthesis. The prosthesis is designed to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint.Hip and knee replacements are the most commonly performed joint replacements, but replacement surgery can be performed on other joints, as well, including the ankle, wrist, shoulder, and elbow.
A total joint may become infected during the time of surgery, or anywhere from weeks to years after the surgery.
The most common ways bacteria enter the body include:
- Through breaks or cuts in the skin
- During major dental procedures (such as a tooth extraction or root canal)
- Through wounds from other surgical procedures
Some people are at a higher risk for developing infections after a joint replacement procedure. Factors that increase the risk for infection include:
- Immune deficiencies (such as HIV or lymphoma)
- Diabetes mellitus
- Peripheral vascular disease (poor circulation to the hands and feet)
- Immunosuppressive treatments (such as chemotherapy or corticosteroids)