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Orthopedic Surgery

What is orthopedic surgery?

Orthopedic surgery is the branch of surgery concerned with the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic surgeons specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of medical issues that affect this system. These problems may be due to accidents, deformities or traumas of the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedics is the area of medicine that deals with the musculoskeletal system. This includes bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, nerves and muscles.

Forms of Orthopedic Surgery

Because of the large variety of areas that orthopedics deals with, musculoskeletal surgery can be many things. Many orthopedic surgeons and orthopedic care centers specialize in specific surgical areas. For instance, one surgeon may specialize in musculoskeletal cancer surgery, another may deal exclusively with sports injuries and traumas due to accidents and another may deal with surgeries to help correct arthritis. Some specialists deal only with foot surgery, some deal with hip and knee surgery.

Arthroscopy is a procedure that uses a small, tube-like instrument, an arthroscope, to look at the structure of a joint. A small incision is made, into which the arthroscope is inserted. It is attached to a video screen, so the surgeon can examine the joint without having to make a large incision. Arthroscopy is a very popular procedure in orthopedics, because it allows the surgeon the see what the problem is before surgery is performed. It may also mean that surgery is not necessary. The size of the arthroscope depends on the size of the joint it is meant to look at. For instance, a scope for the knee would be larger than a scope used for a wrist. The surgery itself can also be performed using arthroscopy. If it is used, it usually means shorter recovery time and less pain for the patient.

Arthroplasty is a surgery that realigns or reconstructs a joint to help restore range of motion and relieve pain. This procedure is performed on people who have stiffened joints as a result of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. It can involve joint resection, where only part of the joint needs to be fixed, or total joint replacement. Most patients recover the range of motion and relief of the pain. Aftercare involves being careful not to overstress the joint, and physical therapy to get things moving properly again.

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