Surgical Treatments to Remedy Joint Problems

For those who suffer from arthritis, joint surgery is one of the options to decrease pain and improve function. Severe arthritis is characterized by inflammation and the wearing away of bone and cartilage Early on, people can treat their arthritis with cold packs, heat, rest, exercise, braces and medication. When these methods no longer work, surgery can often be beneficial in alleviating pain and making movement easier and avoiding disability. There are a number of different surgery methods and joint replacement materials that are used. In recent years, improvements have been made to customize the joint replacements parts and surgical methods to fit individual needs.

Arthroscopy

This is a less invasive form of surgery. The surgeon makes small incisions to reach the area of the joint and uses a very small camera and an Anthroscope to reach into the joint in order to repair tears in the tissue around the knee, shoulder, and hip joints. Surgeons can also repair damaged cartilage and take out loose pieces of cartilage. An ideal candidate for this procedure is an active person younger than 40. You may wonder what to expect with arthroscopy. Soon after the surgery, most people feel a reduction in pain and improved flexibility. If this procedure is successful, individuals can often delay having joint replacement for quite some time.

Joint Resurfacing

Joint resurfacing is a partial knee replacement. Only one of the three joint compartments is replaced with an artificial joint. If the hip is being partially replaced, the hip socket is replaced with a metal piece and the hip ball is resurfaced and topped with a metal prosthesis. It works well for those who are still active and have arthritis in only one compartment. If you are thinking about this procedure, ask your orthopedic surgeon what to expect. He will probably tell you that after healing, you can participate in active sports.

Total Replacement of a Joint

Individuals who have tried other methods to alleviate pain and improve mobility of their joints have the option for a complete replacement of their damaged joint. The damaged joint is removed and replaced with metal, plastic or ceramic parts to act like the natural joint. In many cases, people are pleased with the results of their replacement. They have better range of motion and experience less pain. Therapy soon after surgery is important so that one can regain their strength and range of motion before the joint becomes stiff.