Orthopedic surgery is a specialty within the medical field that is concerned with the musculoskeletal system as it relates to the condition, disease, or injury of a patient. Patient care may involve both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat this complex system that is directly involved in movement and activities. Conditions of the musculoskeletal system are often complex and require varying treatment modalities in combination with rehabilitative and other alternative therapies. Education and training of a physician in this field covers preoperative, operative, and postoperative elements of treatment directed at restoration of form and function. Orthopedic surgeons are often involved and collaborate with other health care providers, treating a number of different conditions. In combination with a pain management specialist, an orthopedic specialist can help you determine the most effective course of action for your condition. If minimally invasive, conservative therapy and care is not adequately managing your pain, then spine surgery may be indicated and an evaluation by a spine surgeon can help explain and establish the surgical treatment most appropriate for your diagnosis.
An orthopedic surgeon, or orthopaedic surgeon, is a surgeon who has been educated and trained in the diagnosis and preoperative, operative, and postoperative treatment of diseases and injuries of the musculoskeletal system. Conditions include the following: arthritis, bone tumors, cerebral palsy, club foot, knock knees, bow legs, bunions, hammertoe, muscle, ligament, tendon damage and many more conditions.
The use of arthroscopic techniques has been particularly important for injured patients. Arthroscopy helped patients recover from the surgery in a matter of days, rather than the weeks to months required by conventional, 'open' surgery. It is a very popular technique. Knee arthroscopy is one of the most common operations performed by orthopedic surgeons today and is often combined with meniscectomy or chondroplasty. The majority of orthopedic procedures are now performed arthroscopically.
Arthroplasty is an orthopedic surgery where the articular surface of a musculoskeletal joint is replaced, remodeled, or realigned by osteotomy or some other procedure. It is an elective procedure that is done to relieve pain and restore function to the joint after damage by arthritis (rheumasurgery) or some other type of trauma. As well as the standard total knee replacement surgery, the uni-compartmental knee replacement, in which only one weight-bearing surface of an arthritic knee is replaced, is a popular alternative. Joint replacements are available for other joints on a limited basis, most notably the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle, spine, and finger joints. In recent years, surface replacement of joints, in particular the hip joint, have become more popular amongst younger and more active patients.
Rehabilitation from orthopedic injuries can require long periods of time. Rehabilitation is usually physically and mentally taxing. Orthopedic surgeons will work closely with physical therapists to ensure that patients receive treatment that will enhance the range of motion and return function to all affected body parts. As with any surgery, there is always the risk of excessive bleeding, infection, and allergic reaction to anesthesia. Risks specifically associated with orthopedic surgery include inflammation at the site where foreign materials (pins, prostheses, or wires) are introduced into the body, infection as the result of surgery, and damage to nerves or to the spinal cord. After orthopedic surgery, your doctors and nurses will make every effort to control your pain. While you should expect to feel some discomfort, advancements in pain control now make it easier for your doctor to manage and relieve pain. Many types of medicines are available to help control pain, including opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and local anesthetics. Treating pain with medication can help you feel more comfortable, which will help your body heal and recover from surgery faster. When you feel less pain, you can start moving sooner and get your strength back more quickly. Alternative approaches, such as medical hypnosis and acupuncture, are being used more often as surgeons and their patients increasingly choose these methods to supplement conventional medicine. A combined approach to pain management is often the best option because it allows the surgeon to tailor pain control methods to each individual patient. In order to effectively manage your pain, your surgeon will take into account several factors that are unique to you and your situation. That is why it is important for you to openly discuss your fears and expectations, as well as your past experiences with pain control, with your doctors and nurses. Opioids are the most effective medicines for moderate to severe pain, especially for managing short-term pain after surgery.
CAL BPS performs hundreds of successful orthopedic surgeries each year to recover from injuries or to restore lost function. Patients get their life back and start living without excruciating pain that was ruining their lives before.
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