Surgical Procedures for Osteoarthritis
Surgical procedures are usually reserved for patients who have noted no improvement with medications or procedures.
It takes 4-6 weeks for the affected joint to recover. You can probably will return to work or resume daily activities within a few days. A specific activity and rehabilitation program may be suggested to speed your recovery and protect future joint function.
In this procedure, a deformed joint, usually of the knee, thigh bone, or leg bone (femur and tibia), is realigned to redistribute body weight on the joint. By doing this, the healthy joint cartilage, usually on the outside of the knee, is aligned to bear more weight and thus alleviate pressure on the damaged tissue.
You will need to walk with crutches for 1-3 months. Next, you will begin rehabilitative leg strengthening and walking exercises. With a successful osteotomy, you will probably be able to resume your full activities after 4-6 months.
This is a joint replacement surgery. The joint is usually replaced with a synthetic joint, usually made of a chromium alloy metal and a high density polyethylene plastic.
The surgeon makes an incision along the joint, moves aside muscles, and removes the damaged bone and cartilage. The remaining bone is prepared to receive the prosthesis, and the new polyethylene and metal joint is placed in position. Depending upon the type of prosthesis, the surgeon may use bone cement to hold one or both parts of the artificial hip. The incision is closed with stitches or staples, which will be removed in about two weeks. The procedure will take a few hours and may require a blood transfusion.
Within 6 weeks, you should be able to resume light activities. To speed your recovery and protect future joint function, follow the recommended activity and rehabilitation program.
This procedure is a last resort for patients who have not had good pain relief from other efforts. In this procedure, the two bones making up a joint are permanently fused together. While this can greatly improve pain, it also means that the joint is permanently nonfunctional.
Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/ .
Conn’s Current Therapy . 54th ed. W.B. Saunders Company; 2002.
Way LW. Current Surgical Diagnosis & Treatment. 10th ed. Appleton & Lange; 1994.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/ .
Last reviewed September 2009 by
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