Joint Replacement Surgery Overview

Joint replacement surgery replaces a badly damaged or arthritic joint with a prosthetic (artificial) part made of metal, polyethylene, ceramics or a mix of materials. Surgery to replace joints is done to lessen pain and improve movement of the joints. Joint replacement is often recommended for patients whose long history of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis has left their joints severely damaged. Replacing these damaged joints can help patients resume productive lives.

World-class joint replacement surgery at BWH.

The joint replacement surgery provided at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is delivered with the expertise, innovation and commitment you would expect from a world-class orthopaedic program. Our innovative and high-quality diagnosis and treatment has led U.S. News & World Report to consistently rank our orthopaedic program as one of the nation's best. Our surgical staff is dedicated to raising the standards of care for joint replacement surgery, including developing new advanced surgical protocols and designing better joint implants. Hundreds of patients each year return to full, active lives thanks to the hip replacement and knee replacement surgeries provided by our experienced and skilled orthopaedic surgeons.

BWH offers many innovative replacement surgery techniques. In addition to surgery to replace damaged hips and knees, we also provide:

How does arthritis affect your joints? How does joint replacement work? What is recovery like after a joint replacement? Antonia Chen, M.D., M.B.A, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Director of Research, Arthroplasty Services at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School discusses the most common joint replacements and the best things people can do to help them return to the activities of daily life after surgery.

Some patients with less severe joint damage may be able to eliminate or delay joint replacement surgery with joint repair techniques. In addition, cartilage repair surgery is available for patients who have early arthritis in the knee or whose cartilage is wearing away.

Learn more about elective joint replacement surgery at BWH.

For patients seeking surgery for replacement or repair of damaged joints, BWH has a staff of more than 25 orthopaedic specialists at four locations in the greater Boston area. Our orthopaedic surgery staff provides patients with expert, comprehensive care, and encourages patient to be active participants in their own care and recovery. The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is part of the BWH Orthopaedic & Arthritis Center of Excellence, where every year our specialists in orthopaedic surgery, physiatry, rheumatology, and rehabilitation, work together with dedicated nurses, physician assistants, and other professionals, to provide state-of-the-art assessment and treatment for thousands of patients.

BWH Research on innovative orthopaedic treatment, including joint replacement surgery

Our orthopaedic surgeons and researchers at the BWH Orthopaedic Research Laboratories are developing new treatment options for patients with joint conditions. Our research approach is to translate new findings from basic and clinical investigations into innovative treatment options for bone and joint health, including replacement and repair surgery. We emphasize research in acute and chronic orthopaedic and joint diseases, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, problem fractures, sports injuries, bone cancers and metastases, spine diseases, osteoporosis, and skeletal aging.

Learn more about our Orthopaedic Surgical Specialties for joint replacement surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

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