Through overuse and aging, our joints often become weak and painful, limiting movement and affecting daily lives. Healthy joint ends are covered with a cushioning layer of cartilage that protects the bones from rubbing against each other and causing pain. The effects of time and excessive wear-and-tear causes this cartilage to slowly wear away and leave our joints weak and unprotected.
Joints refer to the area where two or more bones meet. While there are different kinds of joints all over our bodies, the ones most commonly used and more easily damaged are synovial joints. Synovial joints include those in the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, ankles and feet.
Joint disorders are common because of the frequent pressure applied to the area throughout our lives. They are most common in athletes and older people. But joint disorders such as arthritis and fractures do not necessarily result in lifelong pain. Joint reconstructive surgery offers relief for many people through safe and minimally invasive procedures by experienced professionals.
Joint reconstruction ranges from minor repairs to the damaged joint to total joint replacement. These treatment options can offer temporary pain relief or permanent solutions to joint disorders. The type of treatment best for you depends on the type and severity of your joint disorder. Together, you and your doctor can develop the most effective treatment option for your needs.
Some of the different types of joint reconstructive surgery include:
Joint Replacement Surgery
Joint replacement is a complicated procedure that is for severe joint pain that does not respond to more conservative methods. Replacement surgery is usually performed on the hip, shoulder or knee. Prosthetic joints are designed to move just like regular joints and are made of durable metal and plastic to fit together smoothly. The length of relief depends on the individual, but replacement joints tend to last for over 10 years.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows your doctor to make minor adjustments to joints through tiny incisions and the use of a camera. This procedure can help to release pressure from a tight ligament to increase the range of motion for a stiff joint, remove bone spurs and trim soft tissues like cartilage.
Osteotomy or "bone cutting" removes a section of bone near a damaged joint. This shifts the weight away from the damaged cartilage to an area with healthier cartilage, temporarily relieving the pain. This procedure is typically performed on the knee or hip for younger patients who do not want to have joint replacement surgery yet.
Resurfacing is most commonly performed on the hip and is also for younger patients who may not benefit from total hip replacement. It is less complicated than hip replacement and usually retains a more normal feeling after surgery. Results can last up to 8 years, but long-term studies are not yet available.
Arthrodesis fuses together two bones in a damaged joint to prevent the joint from moving and causing pain. This is a more extreme treatment method that is used when medication and other conservative methods are no longer effective.
Small Joint Surgery
If joints in the hands or feet cannot be used because of damage, they may be replaced to restore limited movement and activities.
Joint reconstructive surgery can provide great relief to patients
who suffer from severe pain that affects their everyday lives. Surgery
can restore movement and make life easier. Talk to your doctor to
find out if surgery may be right for you.