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8 Frequently Asked Total Joint Replacement Questions Answered

Man plays tennis after total joint replacement surgery.

Joint pain can be debilitating, but through a total joint replacement, those suffering from joint issues can find relief. Though surgery and recovery are intensive, many people find total joint replacements help them get back to the activities and pain-free life they enjoyed before their joint pain began. Learn more about total joint replacements and how they can make a difference below.

What happens during a total joint replacement?

First, a surgeon removes the diseased, damaged bone and cartilage in your joint. Healthy bone is left intact. They then replace the removed joint with a prosthesis, which can be made of metal, plastic or ceramic, depending on the type of joint being replaced.

How long does a total joint replacement procedure last?

The length of the surgery depends on the joint being replaced, but it typically takes one to two hours.

Which joints most commonly require a total joint replacement?

Total knee joint replacements and total hip joint replacements are the most common total joint replacement procedures, though they can be performed on the ankle, wrist, shoulder and elbow as well.

What is the recovery from a total joint replacement like?

Recovery from a total joint replacement can differ from person to person depending on age and overall health.

Exercise plays a critical role in the rehabilitation of a replaced joint. Soon after surgery, patients are encouraged to begin using the joint to promote healing. Guided by a doctor or physical therapist, patients continue to restore mobility and strengthen the area through rehabilitative exercises.

How is a total joint replacement different from a partial joint replacement?

A partial joint replacement only replaces the damaged portion of the joint, while a total joint replacement replaces the entire joint. 

When is total joint replacement surgery recommended?

Orthopedic surgeons will help you explore less invasive options before recommending surgery. These may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Non-steroidal medication
  • A weight loss program

If none of the above help you find relief, your joint may be damaged to such an extent that surgery is your best option for alleviating your pain and restoring joint function.

What are the benefits of a total joint replacement?

A total joint replacement can be life-changing, but as with any procedure, it does come with both benefits and risks.


  • Reduced or eliminated pain
  • Ability to return to activities that had become difficult, painful or impossible due to joint issues

How does robotic-assisted total joint replacement differ from a non-robotic procedure?

Total knee joint replacements and total hip joint replacements can be performed through both traditional surgical methods and with the help of the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery System. With minimally-invasive Mako robotic-assisted surgery, most patients experience less pain and a faster recovery from surgery thanks to the system’s enhanced precision and unmatched consistency. While robotic-assisted surgery offers many attractive benefits compared to other methods, some patients still require a traditional total joint replacement to help them find the relief they need. Only a surgeon can determine which surgical option is best for you.

If you’re suffering from joint pain, learn more about joint replacements at Baptist Health or request a consultation to learn more about a Mako total knee joint replacement or total hip joint replacement.