Orthopaedic Surgery FAQ
- When is joint replacement surgery recommended?
- What is orthopaedic sports medicine?
- What is arthroscopy?
- What are the potential benefits of minimally invasive surgery?
- What is the Direct Anterior Approach to Hip Replacement?
Joint replacement surgical procedures consist of the complete or partial removal of a joint and its replacement with a prosthetic implant.
Commonly replaced joints include the hip, knee, and shoulder. While sometimes necessary in the treatment of an injury incurred through a traumatic event, such as a car accident, joint replacement procedures are often recommended in the treatment of conditions, such as osteoarthritis, which affect the protective cartilage within joints.
The degeneration of cartilage can result in chronic, debilitating pain and a loss of joint function. Joint replacement surgery is a potential solution in the alleviation of severe joint pain and a restored quality of life.
While not limited to athletic activity, sports medicine is an orthopaedic discipline that focuses on injuries common in sports.
These injuries can occur due to trauma, such as a football tackle, or overexertion from repetitive motion, such as a tennis swing. These injuries often affect the tissues that bind joints together, and commonly performed sports medicine procedures repair torn ligaments, including the ACL and MCL in the knee, and the rotator cuff in the shoulder.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that utilizes innovative technology to reduce the impact of surgery. Often, sports medicine procedures can be performed arthroscopically.
During the procedure, a fiber-optic camera, called an arthroscope, is inserted through a small incision. The arthroscope's live feed to an in-OR monitor provides Dr. Greene an up-close view of the affected joint and surrounding tissue, which he leverages to maneuver the specialized, pencil-sized surgical instruments.
As minimally invasive surgical techniques provide patients with several potential benefits compared to traditional open surgery, they will be utilized whenever possible.
These benefits stem from the reduced surgical impact on the surrounding tissues and include less blood loss during the procedure, a less noticeable scar, and less post-operative pain. Likewise, the reduced impact on the body shortens both the patient's hospital stay and necessary recovery period.
Several factors are considered when determining surgical approach, including the extent of the injury, and the age and fitness level of the patient.
The Direct Anterior Approach is a minimally invasive hip replacement procedure where the joint is accessed from the front of the body.
Traditional hip replacement methods access the joint from the side, which can disturb the several major muscle groups and nerves of the upper leg. The direct anterior approach minimizes the surgical impact on these tissues.
Furthermore, specialized implants and surgical instruments require an incision of only 3-4 inches, compared to the 8-12 inch incision of traditional hip replacement.