Joint Surgery

For more than 30 years, St. Joseph Hospital has been one of Orange County's leaders in orthopedic services. Orthopedic surgeons on staff with St. Joseph Hospital performed Orange County's first artificial hip, total knee and elbow replacements. Today, our specially trained joint replacement specialists combine the latest technology with a unique, comprehensive, patient-centered approach to quality care.

More than 450,000 Americans receive hip, knee and shoulder repair and replacement surgery each year. Joint surgery can help reduce pain, increase movement and improve your quality of life.

There are two basic types of joint surgery. During joint repair surgery, surgeons remove debris from your joint or correct a bone deformity to allow a joint to function properly. During joint replacement surgery, surgeons remove damaged bone and cartilage and replace them with such synthetic materials as polyethylene, ceramic or metal. Synthetic joint replacement devices are designed to enable the joint to move just like a healthy, natural joint.

Doctors used to recommend hip and knee replacement surgery mainly for older people, who are typically less active and put less strain on the artificial joint. However, researchers have developed new synthetic materials for artificial joints, so active younger adults can receive joint replacement surgery as well.

To treat an arthritic hip (a ball-and-socket joint), surgeons replace the damaged "ball" (located at the upper end of the long bone in the thigh called the femur) with a metal ball attached to a metal stem that fits into the femur. Surgeons implant a synthetic cup into the pelvis, replacing the damaged socket. The ball and cup glide smoothly, much the way a healthy hip does. To repair damaged knees (hinge joints), surgeons insert synthetic replacement parts that fit over the ends of the two leg bones. The smooth surfaces allow easy joint flexing.