Joint Replacement

Researching ways to ensure that more surgeries succeed

If you’ve had successful joint replacement surgery, you know what a relief it is to no longer suffer chronic, searing pain. If your joint replacement does not function well or remains painful, you know only disappointment.

Revision surgery is time-consuming and expensive, and recovery is usually much longer after the second operation, says orthopaedic surgeon Viktor Krebs, MD, whose specialty interests include revision of painful or failed total joint replacements.

Cleveland Clinic’s Joint Failure Program, within the Orthopaedic & Rheumatologic Institute, is researching ways to ensure that more patients realize relief of their pain the first time around. This is the appropriate institution to conduct this important research, according to Dr. Krebs. “Cleveland Clinic has much greater experience with joint revision surgery and takes on more complex cases than most other medical institutions in the country,” he says.

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery performs 7,000 total joint surgeries a year. Of these, about one of every seven is a revision of replacement surgery initially performed elsewhere. Nationwide, of the 1 million joint replacement surgeries performed each year, between 9 percent and 11 percent require revision. This number is expected to grow significantly as the population ages.

Four factors play into joint replacement failure. They are:

  • Mechanical implant failure
  • Infection
  • Wear of bearing surfaces
  • Instability due to tissue laxity

The Joint Failure Program is researching ways to improve and standardize diagnosis, management and prevention of joint replacement failure. For this effort, support is needed to:

Significant support also is needed for the Joint Failure Program’s work to improve access for patients with painful and poorly functioning lower extremity joint arthroplasty, staff recruitment, and for continuing education of adult reconstructive surgeons.

To make a gift supporting the Orthopaedic & Rheumatologic Institute, the Lerner Research Institute or any area of Cleveland Clinic, visit our secure giving site or call Institutional Relations and Development at 216.444.1245 or toll-free at 800.223.2273, ext. 41245.

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