• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Surgical Options for Arthritis

Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the joint that can sometimes lead to disability. It is a debilitating illness that is characterized by painful swelling of the joints due to inflammation. The inflammation is due to the accumulation of inflammatory mediators in the synovial lining of the joints, which can cause damage to cartilage and bone.

There are many ways your doctor can help lower these problems which include medication treatment, rest, exercise, splints, lifestyle modification and heat and cold treatments. When these therapies don’t provide any relief, a surgery may be considered. Joint surgery can offer relief from pain and help you be able to move better. Some of the surgical options for arthritis are mentioned below:

1.  Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a technique which involves making small incisions through specialized instruments using an arthroscope. This technique is used to fix tears in soft tissues around the knee,  shoulder, hip, and other joints.  It also helps repair damaged cartilage and ligaments and take out cartilage pieces that are freely flowing.

2.  Joint Resurfacing

It is one surgical method for the treatment of cartilage defects in the major joints. In this surgery, small metal implants are used for plugging cavities in the cartilage, and to fill the damaged or defective cartilage with prosthetic implants. Joint resurfacing aims to create a smooth and continuous surface of the joint by using metal instead of prosthetics.

For example: Unlike total joint replacement, joint resurfacing replaces just a part of the knee or joint. The surgeons during a surgery replace one or two compartment’s with an implant usually on the inside or outside part.

3.  Osteotomy

An osteotomy is a surgical procedure where the bone is cut and reshaped or aligned. Osteotomy is carried out to shift the weight from the undamaged area which erupts due to damage caused by arthritis. This procedure is quite common and used to correct various issues like hallux valgus, hip dysplasia, coxa vara, genu valgum, and genu varum. Osteotomy is suitable for younger patients and can halt damage and delay or the need for a joint replacement for 10 to 15 years.

4.  Synovectom

In conditions like inflammatory arthritis, synovial lining of the joints can become inflamed or grow too much, causing damage to the surrounding cartilage and joints. Synovectomy is a procedure where the surgeon aims to correct the affected synovium by performing open surgery or by using arthroscopy. It is less expensive surgery and can provide relief from pain, improve function and reduce the use of anti-inflammatory medications.

5.  Arthrodesis, or Fusion

Arthrodesis, or Fusion is recommended to people with severe damage of the joint from Osteoarthritis or due to Inflammatory arthritis. The procedure involves joining two or more bones with the help of hardware like pins, plates, or rods and making it one continuous joint. This helps the bones grow together and lock the joint in place. However, this procedure may reduce the motion and flexibility of the joint.

6.  Total Joint Replacement (TJR), or Total Joint Arthroplasty

Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which the damaged joint due to arthritis is replaced with a metal, plastic or ceramic device called a prosthesis. These implants are designed to replicate the movement of a normal healthy joint. This procedure has a strong proven record for safety, helps reduce the pain and improves mobility and quality of life. The surgery is quite an expensive one.

7.  Minimally Invasive TJR

This technique replaces a damaged joint but uses shorter incisions than in a traditional TJR. Less muscle is cut and reattached.

8. Joint Revision

Joint replacement surgeries for hips and knees affected by arthritis involves removing or replacing the failed, infected or worn-out implant.

Before you decide on what type of surgery you want, be sure to learn its advantages, disadvantages, alternatives, cost, and risks involved.

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