Arthroplasty is surgery to restore the function of a joint, either by reconstructing the joint or using an artificial joint, called a prosthesis, which is referred to as joint replacement.

Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that causes a loss of cartilage in the joint, is the most common reason we perform arthroplasty. Other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may also warrant arthroplasty to restore function in a joint, most commonly in the hip and knee.

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Types of arthroplasty

Depending on the joint and severity of the problem, arthroplasty may involve resurfacing the bones or joint replacement surgery. Types of arthroplasty include:

  • Total hip arthroplasty. A common surgery in the U.S, this is typically done via either of two optimal muscle-sparing approaches: the mini-posterior approach (MPA) or direct anterior approach (DAA).
  • Total knee arthroplasty. Uses metal and plastic prosthetic parts to replace the knee joint, and is very effective in relieving pain and restoring function and range of motion.
  • Wrist arthroplasty. Good for patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis who don’t use their wrists to meet heavy, daily demands.

Your recovery

Part of your personalized treatment plan may include physical therapy to get your joint working properly again. Your physical therapist will guide you through exercises to improve flexibility, range of motion and muscle strength.

Your recovery time will depend on the type of surgery you had. For example, if you had a total knee replacement, you will work with your physical therapist for a few weeks and should be able to walk on your own and do your own physical therapy after that without limitations. You will know exactly what to expect based on your treatment plan.


National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): National Library of Medicine. Total Knee Arthroplasty Techniques –

MedlinePlus: National Library of Medicine. Knee Replacement Also called: Knee arthroplasty –