In this medical video learn about the better material being used for smaller joint replacements.
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Jennifer Matthews: Across the country, hip and knee replacements are routine, but smaller joint replacements have been more of a challenge. Dr. Kathleen Robertson: You're using your fingers and your joints all day long. So you have to think that the wear or the breakdown maybe higher or may be faster. Jennifer Matthews: Now, these new artificial joints give people more mobility. They're made of the same material used in heart valves. Dr. Kathleen Robertson: We know that after your heart beats many, many millions of times a year, that those valves have not worn out. That's where the idea of the actual metal for this implant came from was because of the long track record. Jennifer Matthews: Unlike typical silicone implants, the new implants withstand frequent wear and tear. Dr. Kathleen Robertson says that's crucial. Dr. Kathleen Robertson: What you're trying to give back to them is painless motion. Jennifer Matthews: They can help arthritis patients or patients who have suffered an injury like Michael, who nearly lost his finger to a saw blade. Michael Smith: It cut the bone completely in half, and it dropped the finger down to here. There was only a piece of skin right here holding it, holding it on. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors saved his finger but pain and limited mobility followed. The artificial joint helped. Michael Smith: It's been a lot better. I have pain medicine, but I don't take it unless I really have to. Jennifer Matthews: After 19 months of rehab, he's gone back to his construction job. Michael Smith: I've heard stories about other people cutting themselves and I just didn't think it was going to happen to me. Be very careful when you're cutting with power saws because it can happen to anybody. Jennifer Matthews: With his new joint, Michael is sure to take his own advice. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.