In developed countries, joint disorders of various forms constitute a significant part of the burden on health services, including general practitioners, hospital in-and out-patient facilities, and community care services. About 30 years ago, before total joint replacement was generally practised, many sufferers from arthiritis of the hip or knee had effectively to choose between a surgical fusion and severely restricted mobility, perhaps in a wheelchair. The development of total joint replacement has introduced a third possibility, which is the treatment of choice for many patients. As is well known when it is good, it is very very good; the patient feels as if the joint is the same as before the onset of arthritis. Such a result is obviously immeasurably better for the patient and the patient’s family; it is also cheaper for the community than providing aids for disabled people, earlier pensions, etc.
Professor S.A.V. Swanson