Orthopedic surgery provides people with the freedom of movement they once enjoyed prior to injury or development of a deteriorating condition, such as arthritis. These days, procedures are highly diverse and individualized, giving patients treatment choices previously unheard of.
In this blog, we will look at five orthopedic surgeries, the details of the procedures, risks and recovery.
Rotator Cuff Repair
Rotator cuff repair surgery is much-publicized surgery which normalizes movement in the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff repair may be done with a traditional open method or with small incisions. The surgeon uses arthroscopic instruments and video imaging.
The rotator cuff in the shoulder is a group of tendons and muscles which are attached to and operate the upper arm. Rotator cuffs may be damaged during a fall or sports mishap or degrade over time. Arthritis in the shoulder causes painful bone spurs and fraying or tearing of the rotator cuff.
To repair the rotator cuff, the orthopedic surgeon accesses the shoulder joint and removes the damaged tissues. Bone spurs, often associated with the joint of the shoulder blade, are smoothed or removed. Patients receive a number of sutures depending on the length and type of incision the orthopedic specialist uses.
Recovery from rotator cuff repair involves stabilization of the operated arm with a sling. Most people require it for about four to six weeks, along with an intensive program of physical therapy to improve strength and range of motion. Pain management is aggressive early on, but over the counter medications suffice as the days and weeks progress.
All in all, rotator cuff repair is highly successful. However, it carries the usual surgical risks of suture disruption and infection.
A minimally-invasive surgical procedure, arthroscopy allows the surgeron to see inside musculoskeletal joints and repairs damage or deformity. Typically, it is a treatment of choice when physical therapy, pain management and other less invasive interventions do not relieve discomfort or normalize joint function.
Done with localized or general anesthesia on an outpatient basis, arthroscopy involves a thin lighted tube, or scope, which is inserted through small incisions. With the scope, the doctor can visualize the area of damage or deformity and use miniaturized instruments to make repairs, take tissue samples and more.
Arthroscopy is used for a variety of conditions including ACL repair in the knee, carpal tunnel release in the wrist and rotator cuff repairs in the shoulder.
Risks associated with arthroscopy include infection, bleeding and swelling, among others, but these are limited and rare. Arthroscopy is usually well-tolerated and very safe.
Total Hip Replacement
Also called hip arthroplasty, this reliable surgery replaces joint components damaged through impact, arthritis or deformity. Joint prosthetics are customized for fit, length and strength with high-tech resins and metals.
During the traditional surgery, the orthopedic surgeon accesses the hip joint through a large incision. General anesthesia is required, and most patients stay in the hospital for a few days. Physical therapy afterwards begins right away and continues for some weeks to months.
The risks of the surgery are blood clots, infection and loosening or fracture of the prosthesis, although these complications are relatively rare. Patients recover a good range of motion and pain-free weight bearing.
This foot surgery removes a bony bump located at the side of the foot at the base of the big toe. The procedure also re-aligns the big toe which has turned inward toward the second and even third toes of the foot.
Bunionectomy is the best option when simpler methods, such as wearing shoes with wider toe boxes, do not improve the symptoms of pain, swelling and deformity. Through small to moderately sized incisions, the orthopedic surgeon straightens the bones of the big toe and shortens or lengthens the associated tendons and ligaments as needed.
Recovery takes a few weeks. Most parents wear a walking boot and receive physical therapy to improve balance and to relieve stiffness in the toe and foot. Associated risks include the return of pain and even development of pain where there previously was none.
Laminectomy is a procedure in which the posterior portion of the small bones in the back are removed. Also called vertebrae, these small bones protect the spinal nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues of the back.
Unfortunately, the laminae are prone to deterioration by osteoarthritis and can develop painful bone spurs. They can also be damaged by a sudden impact, like a car accident.
When symptoms are severe and not relieved by more conservative methods, a laminectomy can be performed to remove bone spurs and damaged portions of intervertebral discs. These discs can deteriorate with age or become damaged, leading to stiffness and pain.
Recovery from laminectomy takes a few weeks to months, depending on how much revision the surgeon performed, how large the incisions were and your general health and condition. Physical therapy is a must, and most people experience relief of pain in the lower back, leg and arms. Infection, blood clots and bleeding can happen.
Orthopedic Doctor in Southwest Virginia and Kingsport, Tennessee
At Watauga Orthopaedics, our team of 16 orthopedic surgeons bring the latest techniques to the surgical suite, giving patients the function and freedom of pain they deserve. To learn more about your surgical options, call us for an appointment at (423) 282-9011, or request a visit online. We have three locations to serve you and all your orthopedic needs – Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol, Tennessee.