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Benefits and Risks of Joint Replacement Surgery

Arthritis sufferers often feel mild to excruciating pain depending on how severe their problem is.  Arthritis often occurs when the fluid that lubricates the moving parts of the body becomes abnormal or has suffered from too much wear and tear hence the pain. Although there are different types of arthritis that one can suffer from, they all have one thing in common and that is the joints are not moving properly or are too stiff that causes pain to emanate whenever the movable parts move even an inch. This is why joint replacement surgery is introduced to help alleviate the pain and discomfort so arthritis sufferers can go on with their way of living without having to worry about pain spiking all the time.

For those who will be undergoing joint replacement surgery, it is best to learn all there is to know about the procedure and the steps to follow before and after surgery. This may include undergoing therapy to help train the body to be accustomed to moving the replacement joints until the time that the straps or splints can be removed. Therapy often lasts for several months with surgeons recommending their patients to avoid straining their new joint replacements. A successful joint replacement surgery usually reduces the pain that is caused by arthritis, improves the look of the joints' alignment, and allows more fluid use of joints as well. These are what makes joint replacement surgery a much sought after treatment for arthritis cases these days.

However, joint replacement surgery poses health risks as well. Patients may suffer from the implants becoming loose over time, which would require additional surgery as well. If the implant fails, patients may experience stiff joints and pain once more. Undergoing surgery for joint replacement can also damage nerves, vessels and other important parts in the affected area due to the new joint introduced into the body. Worse, undergoing this type of surgery can cause infection if not properly conducted. Nowadays, the materials used for hip and joint replacement surgeries have been found to cause some health risks that are worth discussing even further. As you read further, you will know what the dangers are from being exposed to titanium, cobalt and chromium through joint replacements.

Titanium Exposure Risks

Titanium per se is not harmful to the body. Since this element is lightweight, it is frequently used in medical devices such as knee and hip replacements. Truth be told, humans are not in danger from exposure to titanium but it is another story when it comes to titanium compounds. One particular compound that is present in medical devices is the Titanium Tetrachloride which can irritate the lungs, eyes, mucous membranes and skin. Those who are constantly exposed to this compound are sure to find their health at risk especially when they breathe in this compound. Wearing protective gear is highly recommended especially when working around this element nowadays and getting a Titanium blood test is good idea if you fear exposure from your metal-on-metal hip implant system.

Cobalt Exposure Risks

Some hip and joint replacement parts are made from Cobalt. This element has adverse effects to one's health especially as it is released into the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body along with blood. Studies have shown that the normal cobalt level that is accepted by the body is .17 millionth of a gram per liter of blood. Anything higher is already considered dangerous to the body. Patients who have worn replacement parts that contain cobalt suffer from symptoms including fatigue, irritability, decline in their cognitive skills, anxiety, depression, headaches, tinnitus, and even impaired heart function. Exposure to high amounts of cobalt due to replacement parts has certainly caused quite a stir in the medical field, that is why patients seeking joint replacement surgery should be aware of the risks posed by this procedure.

Chromium Exposure Risks

The risk of being exposed to chromium due to joint replacement surgery is high. Because of this, patients who are considering undergoing this procedure should weigh its pros and cons. Chromium exposure occurs when oxidation of implants take place. When this happens, the body is prone to suffering from immune problems such as irritation of the lungs, rashes, fatigue and the like.

These elements do pose a threat to one's health especially when undergoing hip or joint replacement surgery. Some manufacturers make use of other materials when creating implants to reduce the risk of the patients being exposed to toxic substances. This way, they won't be suffering from any symptoms at all but instead get to enjoy their implants and be free from pain and aches that are normally associated with arthritis.

If you are involved in or considering legal action against the manufacturers of potentially defective implant systems, such as the metal-on-metal hip (MoM) replacement systems it is important to start with blood tests for titanium, cobalt and chromium.