in The ANRF Chronicle
When conservative treatments have failed, arthritis patients often look at more invasive treatment options to find solutions to their enduring pain, and many times these include services offered by Orthopaedic surgeons. Orthopaedic surgeons are specially trained in the surgical treatment of bone and joint problems that affect movement, often specifically those that arise from various forms of arthritis.
Due to the specialty’s vastness, most orthopaedic surgeons sub-specialize, focusing on a specific treatment area. The goal for patients having surgery is to relieve pain and correct the underlying deformity responsible for that pain. For those affected by arthritis this includes arthroscopy, joint replacement and osteotomy.
- Arthroscopy is a procedure orthopaedic surgeons use to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint. Arthroscopic surgery is a procedure that involves inserting a small camera inside the joint. Through other small incisions, instruments can be inserted to repair or remove damaged structures. Arthroscopic knee surgery is often called “scoping the knee” or knee arthroscopy.
- Joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which parts of an arthritic or damaged joint are removed and replaced with a metal, plastic or ceramic device called a prosthesis. The prosthesis is designed to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint.
- An osteotomy is any surgery that cuts and reshapes bones. It can be used to shorten or lengthen a deformed bone that doesn’t line up with a joint like it should.
The question for many patients becomes when to see an orthopaedic surgeon. This is something best discussed with a primary care physician. However, there are indicators that may accelerate the need to have this discussion, including chronic pain, an inability to perform everyday functions, a limited range of motion and trouble walking or standing.
An orthopaedic surgery has the potential to drastically improve the lives of patients. Post-surgery patients often have a great deal of improvement and are capable of doing activities previously too painful to accomplish and it’s realized how valuable high-quality orthopaedic care is and how quickly quality of life can improve when an orthopaedic surgeon is consulted their services are utilized.