When do You need Orthopedic Surgery?

Orthopedic Surgery

From your shoulders to your feet, orthopedic surgeons at Penn Highlands Healthcare perform a variety of procedures to repair joints, bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. Patients who have experienced trauma, such as in a car accident, or sports injuries may need orthopedic surgery to correct broken bones, misaligned joints, or torn tendons. If you suffer arthritis, bone diseases, or genetic deformities, our orthopedic surgeons also can help.

When should You See an Orthopedic Surgeon?

Thankfully, not all orthopedic conditions or injuries require surgery. Often, pain and swelling can be alleviated with more conservative treatments, such as steroid injections or physical therapy. Those treatments are typically recommended by a primary care physician, sports medicine specialist, or, in the case of some arthritis-related damage, a rheumatologist.

If after several weeks of conservative treatment, your pain doesn’t not improve, or if you’ve experienced a traumatic injury like a tear to your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), you may be referred to an orthopedic surgeon for further evaluation. Based on your symptoms and the results of imaging tests, such as X-ray, MRI, and CT scans, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery as the next step. The primary focus is to help put an end to the pain and/or loss mobility that is affecting your ability to do the things you love.

What Types of Procedures do Orthopedic Surgeons Perform?

Our experienced orthopedic surgeons offer the most advanced treatments and procedures, including minimally invasive surgeries, to help ensure your recovery is as fast and complete as possible. These surgical approaches allow patients to spend fewer days in the hospital, experience less pain, and enjoy a quicker recovery.

Here are a few of the most common types of orthopedic surgery:

Knee Arthroscopy: Arthroscopy is a form of surgery where surgeons place small instruments through punctures into your knee to remove or repair damaged tissue. This relieves pain and swelling, and also can help prevent further damage to the joint. Removal of torn meniscus (the cartilage disc in your knee) is one of the most common reasons for knee arthroscopy.

Shoulder Arthroscopy: This type of shoulder surgery uses a small video camera and tools inserted through one to three small incisions. The camera helps the orthopedic surgeon view the cartilage, bones, tendons, and ligaments to repair or remove them. This procedure can be used for rotator cuff repair, shoulder impingement syndrome, or shoulder instability.

Carpal Tunnel release: To relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, including pain, tingling, and numbness of the hand, wrist, and arm, the surgeon will cut the carpal ligament, which releases pressure on the median nerve.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction: This is a common orthopedic surgery for athletes and others who experience a traumatic knee injury. During ACL reconstruction, the orthopedic surgeon removes the torn ligament, which connects your thigh and shin bones, and replaces it with tendon from another part of your body or from a cadaver donor.

Bone Fracture Repair: When you break your arm, ankle, wrist or other bone, sometimes surgery is required to realign and stabilize the bones so that they can properly heal. During this procedure, the bones are repositioned and then held together with a combination of screws, pin, plates, or rods.

Spinal Fusion: Osteoarthritis, injury, and spinal deformities all can lead to pain and instability of the vertebrae. In spinal fusion, surgeons essentially “weld” two or more vertebrae together to prevent movement and improve stability.

Joint Replacement: When damage to a joint—including the knee, hip, shoulder, and sometimes ankle—is too severe to repair, an orthopedic surgeon will perform a total or partial joint replacement. In this procedure, the patient’s own damaged joint surfaces are replaced with manmade metal and plastic components.

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