Arthritis is a condition that causes pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis caused by the wearing down of the cartilage that protects the bones of a joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an inflammation in the lining of the joints. Both forms of arthritis, cause pain, tenderness, and swelling, and may result in loss of movement in the affected joints. Over time, joints affected by arthritis may become severely damaged. Arthritis occurs more frequently in older individuals, however it sometimes develops in athletes from overuse of a joint or after an injury. It can however, affect people of any age, including children.
Treatment for arthritis typically involves a combination of anti-inflammatory medication and devices such as splints, canes or crutches, to relieve stress on the joint. Physical therapy, regular exercise, weight loss for overweight patients, and cortisone injections may also be helpful. Despite the wide range of treatment options available to relieve arthritis pain, some people are so severely affected by this condition that their pain is unresponsive to conservative methods. Long-term, disabling arthritis pain may relieved through joint surgery that reduces pain and restores normal functioning.
Types of Surgery
Joint surgery for arthritis depends on the location and severity of the pain. Hip and knee surgeries are most common, but some procedures can also be used for the ankles, wrists, fingers and thumbs. Many of these procedures are minimally invasive as new technology helps to provide less scarring and shorter recovery times. There are several different types of procedures available to treat arthritis
Arthrodesis or Fusion
Arthroscopic arthrodesis, or fusion, is a surgical procedure used to treat severe cases of degenerative osteoarthritis. This procedure involves fusing the bones of the affected area together to manage pain and restore function to the joint. Fusion involves removing all cartilage from a joint and then joining two or more bones together so that they do not move. Fusions may be performed with with screws, plates or pins or a combination of these materials.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows for careful examination and minor repairs of a joint. An arthoscope, or a small camera at the end of a tube, is inserted through a small incision, allowing the surgeon to view and treat the joint by removing torn cartilage or bone ends.
Osteotomy is a procedure used to remove a section of bone near a damaged joint. This procedure involves involves cutting or repositioning the bone to restore proper alignment and treat osteoarthritis.
Synovectomy is a procedure that removes the synovium, or the tissue lining of the joints, to reduce pain and swelling. It is used to treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis and may also be effective at slowing the progression of the disease
Total Joint Replacement
Also known as arthroplasty, total joint replacement is considered a last resort option for treating arthritis. This procedure involves removing the damaged joints and tissues and replacing them with synthetic materials or artificial implants. While this is a complex and advanced procedure, it is very successful and can last for several years.
A resection procedure involves the removal of all or part of a damaged joint or bone. This procedure helps to improve function and relieve pain of arthritis.
Recovery from these procedures may vary depending on the affected joint and the patient's individual condition.