In joint replacement surgery, an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint called a prosthesis. Joint replacement is indicated for patients who suffer from severe pain due to damage to the cartilage, the smooth tissue that covers the bone ends of a joint. The goal of joint replacement surgery is to relieve the pain and disability caused by cartilage damage and is recommended when other treatment options fail. Although hip and knee replacements are the most common, joint replacement can be performed on other joints, including the ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow and fingers.

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