When is Orthopedic Surgery Necessary?
As you age, you will probably encounter more problems with your muscles and joints. Like a machine, your body has many different functioning, moving parts, and it needs to be tended.
Often, the pain you feel may be easily fixed with an over-the-counter medication. Sometimes, though, the tendon, muscle or joint pain you feel requires a doctor’s visit. If you have a sprain, an overuse injury, knee pain or shoulder pain, often times it will be relieved with conservative care. However sometimes, with other injuries orthopedic surgery may be necessary.
Signs You May Need Surgery
Just because your knee hurts does not mean you need to run to the surgeon. Many musculoskeletal issues can be treated with non- or minimally-invasive procedures. If pain or another symptom of a possible orthopedic problem persists, though, you may need to see a surgeon. A doctor will examine the affected area to determine the severity of the problem. If your issue cannot be corrected with exercise, braces, canes or vitamin supplements, your doctor may suggest surgery. Signs you might need surgery include the following:
- Difficulty doing day-to-day tasks, such as walking or bathing
- Pain in muscles, tendons or joints that lasts for several days
- Joint pain that intensifies when you are resting
- Deformed joints
- Symptoms of infection, such as inflammation or redness
- Swelling or bruising near a joint or injury site
- Ability to move in a certain area is limited
How It Works
Although orthopedic doctors prefer to prescribe medication and physical therapy as fixes to musculoskeletal issues, surgery is often necessary when these treatments offer no relief. Commonly performed surgeries include ankle, shoulder, hip and knee replacement as well as back surgery. The earlier you recognize the problem the sooner the doctor is able to diagnose and treat it. As with all serious medical conditions, early treatment prevents the issue from worsening.
Since joint replacement surgery is one of the most common procedures in this field, we will discuss that. In fact, more than 1 million people each year have hip or knee replacement.
Before the procedure, you will be given either local or general anesthesia, depending on what you discussed with your doctor beforehand. The surgeon will then replace the affected joint with a prosthesis. Hip and knee replacement take two hours or less, but you may need to stay in the hospital a few days to recover.
Pain after surgery is normal. It will last a few weeks to several months. Physical therapy, which may begin the day after the procedure, can help your body heal and can strengthen the new joint.
A good candidate for the procedure will have realistic expectations about recovery and results. Patients should not smoke, have cardiovascular problems or have a terminal illness. They should be at a healthy weight. It is important to be physically and psychologically prepared for the surgery to ensure the best outcome.
If you are considering orthopedic surgery, visit our services page to learn more about the procedures.