During this time, he or she should discuss all of the any potential risks involved with the procedure as well as all of the alternative measures. However, a decision is made to continue with the surgery, the doctor will recommend a procedure that he feels is best suited for the patient’s condition and then will explain what that procedure entails.
Note that sometimes before surgery, doctors prescribe blood-thinning medication and advise you to do various joint movement activities or exercises in order to increase circulation.
Some benefits of going the surgery route can include the stabilization, improved alignment or replacement of a joint so that you can have greater mobility, flexibility, overall use and range-of-motion. Surgery may also be able to provide some level of pain relief where other treatment options might have failed.
Be aware there are possible risks with surgery, though, like blood clots resulting. And your healthcare specialist may advise against surgery if, for example, you have existing health problems that could pose possible unwanted risks. Some of these problems could include sickness or infections that would need to be healed first, being over weight, which could cause more stress and delayed recovery, lung problems or heart disease.
Common types of surgery used in the treatment of arthritis follow:
Arthrodesis This is the joining together or fusion of joint bones. Arthrodesis helps stop the progression of the disease at the point of fusion, ending the pain. Loss of the joint’s flexibility can result. However, the area will be better able to handle weight and offer general movement. In other words, the joint may not be 360-degree-flexible any longer, but there will be some lesser-degree of flexibility overall without pain.
Arthroplasty This is the replacement or rebuilding of an entire joint. And it is intended for those with high-level pain and movement impairment. It is discussed in much more detail in the section immediately following this one, offering a focus with regards to hip replacement.
Arthroscopy Growing more popular with the improved use of technology, this procedure is when specialized instruments are inserted into the joint by means of tiny incisions. During this surgery, the operating physician has helping staff members who aid the computerized monitoring and some handling of the instruments. The doctor can see the joint on closed-circuit television and make repairs to it, while talking through a microphone. Then not only are there physical results, but the patient has a video with audio record of the entire occurrence for insurance and other records. Arthroscopy is often performed on an outpatient basis. And recovery time is generally much less than with other “open” surgery.
Osteotomy – This is a medical procedure that makes an actual cut in the bone, most generally to correct youth deformities like in the knee or hip. Osteotomy helps with re-alignment, stabilization, pain relief and the delaying of joint replacement alternatives for up to 10 years.
Synovectomy This procedure, generally done via arthroscopy, involves the removal of diseased joint tissue lining or synovium. Results can include swelling decrease, pain relief, improved but not completely healed joint health.
There are currently many options in orthopedic (bone) surgery for people with arthritis. Joint replacement is the most common option. According to the National Joint Replacement Foundation, (NJRF) over 435,000 Americans underwent this procedure last year. These numbers have boosted joint replacement to one of the most successful medical discoveries and the absolute most significant surgery in the field of arthritis treatment. Joint replacement is the process of removing one’s entire joint as well as any damaged tissue and replacing it with a metal prosthesis.
This prosthesis provides the patient with much need relief from pain. This surgery most effective on the weight bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and ankles, however, it has been used for all joints with successful results.
Hip replacement surgery consists of removing the entire hip joint and replacing it with artificial components. These components function in the same manner as the natural hip, with the same type of motion. When a patient elects to undergo hip replacement surgery, they have an option to use their own blood. There is a great loss of blood during the procedure, and patients are prepared for this ahead of time. They can elect to have their own blood taken and stored ahead of time so that when they need a transfusion, they can use blood from their own body, eliminating many of the risks associated with transfusions.
This particular procedure begins with an initial incision. The surgeon will then proceed to remove the entire hip joint, including the ball, socket, and top of the femur. Once the joint, and all damaged tissue is removed, a metal cup is adhered to the pelvic bone. Then, a metal stem is inserted into the femur; leaving a portion exposed at the end for several inches. The doctors place a ball on the end of the exposed portion of the metal rod, and all of the exposed parts are lined with another antifriction material. The hip is reassembled, placing the ball joint into the socket and the incision is then closed.
Fusion Arthrodesis, or bone fusion, is another optional procedure where the bones are fused together in order to prevent them from moving independently. This can be done two ways:
1. Bone Grafting is the method of stimulating fusion between two bones by placing a small piece of bone, from another region of the body, in between. This small piece of bone encourages growth for the surrounding bones, thus fusing them in place.
2. Implantation of a metal or ceramic piece, which is adhered to each of the two bones, using either screws or a special glue, thus preventing movement of the bones. Fusion is a common procedure and is used in conjunction with joint replacement surgery, which is more extreme of a procedure then bone fusion alone.
During a procedure called Ostheo, doctors can evaluate the injured tissue and eliminate any loose material with the use of instruments that are inserted into the joint through little incisions in the skin. During the procedure, the surgeon can observe any damage to the joint on a closed-circuit television, and further remove any loose growths that could be the origin of pain. This sort of surgery can often be executed on an outpatient basis, and typically involves a shorter recovery stage than open/inpatient surgery.
Rehabilitation times for joint replacement surgery vary from one person to the next. However, the average person has been shown to regain most functions within three weeks. A positive attitude can help to facilitate recovery. It is important for patients to participate in this by reassuring themselves as well as seeking support from support groups, family, and friends.
Regardless of they type of surgery recommended, most people recommend getting at least one other opinion before proceeding. In addition, check out books, conduct your own online research, ask questions through health chat rooms, call your own local providers and learn all you can about your health condition. And if you do decide upon surgery, look and plan ahead, too. Will you need time off work? Someone to help around the house? Someone to run errands? Line up help with neighbors, friends, church members, family, co-workers and local services to pick up groceries, bring in the mail, clean house and basically keep things running in the interim. In short, take charge and reach out.