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Orthopedics - FAQs: Orthopedic Surgery

Frequenty Asked Questions about Orthopedic Surgery

If I see an orthopedic surgeon, will he or she generally recommend surgery?

Most orthopedic injuries and conditions are treated without surgery, using a range of treatments that include activity modification, physical therapy and medications.  Surgery is an option for certain orthopedic problems and often for those conditions that do not alleviate patient symptoms.

What are the most common orthopedic surgeries?

The most common orthopedic surgeries are:
  • arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip and ankle; 
  • joint replacement surgery during which an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint; 
  • repair of soft tissue injuries, such as torn tendons or ligaments.

What is Arthroscopic Surgery?

Arthroscopic Surgery is a minimally-invasive procedure in which the surgeon uses a small (think of a camera the diameter of a pencil) high-definition, fiber-optic camera to perform surgery through small incisions.  Arthroscopy is also used to diagnose and treat virtually all joint problems, including those of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle.  It affords visualization that permits treatment of most conditions in the least invasive manner.
Because arthroscopic surgery is performed through small incisions, injury to soft tissues is avoided, facilitating quicker and less painful recovery times.  Most patients go home the same day they have surgery.

What are the benefits of Joint Replacement Surgery?

The primary goal of joint replacement surgery is to restore mobility and relieve pain. Good evidence-based medicine data reveals that a typical total hip or knee replacement lasts at least 20 years in about 80 percent of patients, ensuring a durable and reliable improved quality of life. Joint replacement care at Sibley is comprehensive—encompassing the entire process from evaluation through rehabilitation.  It includes diagnostic imaging, patient education, surgery, and both in-patient and out-patient physical therapy.  Sibley has a skilled nursing facility, The Renaissance, for in-patient rehabilitation, if referred by their physician.

How long does it take for joint replacement surgery to heal completely?

Healing times depend largely on the patient’s overall health, body type and lifestyle. With proper care, rest and therapy, patients heal sufficiently to return to most activities of daily living within several weeks of their procedure.  The duration of hospitalization ranges from 2 days for a shoulder replacement to 3-5 days following a knee or hip replacement.

Can I still run/play soccer/golf with a joint replacement?

Probably, though it depends upon a number of factors that require coordination with your surgeon.  Most patients are able to resume athletic activity at a recreational level, enjoying the benefits of exercise and recreation without pain or limitations.
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