Joint replacement surgery removes damaged parts of a joint and replaces them with man-made parts. The goal is to restore function and reduce pain and inflammation.

The most commonly replaced joints are the hip or knee. Less often, a shoulder, finger joint, ankle or elbow is replaced, the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases says.

The agency describes what to expect while preparing for and recovering from joint replacement surgery:

  • You doctor probably will prescribe pain-relieving medication, both before and after the procedure.
  • A growing number of patients are able to take advantage of out patient surgery centers where you can go home the very same day. ┬áIf you are elderly or disabled, you may spend some time at an in-patient rehabilitation center before going home.
  • Expect to use a walker or crutches for at least a few days.
  • Physical therapy should begin soon after surgery, to help strengthen muscles around the new joint and help you regain motion in the joint.
  • Pain and discomfort can be relieved with medication. Both should go away within a few weeks or months.