Most people will never need surgery for osteoarthritis, but if you have severe joint damage, extreme pain that isn’t helped by other treatments, or very limited motion as a result of the condition, osteoarthritis surgery may be necessary.

Surgery for osteoarthritis can provide several benefits, including the following:

Improved movement: If the constant wearing away of cartilage makes it difficult for you to move, making it difficult to you to get around and stay independent, replacing the damaged joint with a synthetic one can allow you to continue activities that you enjoy.

Pain relief: If osteoarthritis causes severe, constant pain that isn’t relieved by treatments such as medications, exercise or physical therapy, surgically replacing the painful joint or removing loose growths that are causing pain, for example, can relieve pain.

Improved joint alignment: In some cases, osteoarthritis can cause the joint to become maligned so that it no longer functions as it should and looks unusual. In the knees, surgery can correct or improve this misalignment. But appearance should not be the main reason for having surgery for osteoarthritis; improved appearance should be considered a bonus after osteoarthritis surgery improves movement and relieves pain.