It’s considered one of the most successful surgeries in modern medicine.
The first knee replacement surgery was done in 1968 and since then, the procedure has been extensively refined. The latest state-of-the-art technology has made it one of the most common surgeries performed by an orthopedic specialist in the United States.
Perhaps you’ve heard of an athlete who has a torn ACL or your friend needed a hip replacement. These are all some of the most common orthopedic surgeries performed in the United States. We’re going to take a look at some of them and why you might need one of them. We’ll also give a quick overview of how our orthopedic surgeons perform them.
ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament, and a sprained or torn ACL is one of the most common knee injuries. You’re most likely to hear about it when it happens to a star athlete. However, the truth is that anyone who plays sports like soccer, basketball or football is much more likely to have an ACL injury.
What is the ACL?
The joint of your knee is made of three bones: your femur, your tibia (you could think of this as your shinbone) and your kneecap. Your kneecap protects the front of your joint. All these bones are connected by ligaments. Think of the ligaments as strong ropes that keep your knee in place. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) runs diagonally in the middle of the knee.
What Causes an ACL Injury?
The ACL can be injured by:
- Landing the wrong way from a jump
- Suddenly stopping
- Rapidly changing direction
- Colliding with something or someone
- Suddenly slowing down while running
When any of these ligaments are sprained, it causes problems. These can be relatively minor, such as a “Grade 1 Sprain” where the knee is still stable, to a “Grade 3 Sprain” where the ligament has been completely cut into two pieces. As a result of a Grade 3 Sprain, the knee is incredibly unstable.
How Do You Know if You’ve Torn Your ACL?
You may have symptoms like this:
- Feeling that “your knee gave out” from underneath you.
- Swelling – usually this swelling begins within 24 hours after the injury.
- Difficulty walking
- Loss of your range of motion
- Tenderness, particularly around the joint
How is an ACL Repaired?
If it has not been severely sprained, then it’s not necessary to have surgery. Using a brace and taking part in physical therapy can generally help. However, if is completely torn, an orthopedic surgeon has to go inside the knee and reconstruct the entire ligament by grafting other tissue into the ligament.
This surgery is done arthroscopically. This means an arthroscope is used. This is a small, fiber-optic tube equipped with a camera. It provides an unhindered view, allowing the orthopedic specialist to repair it. Surgery that is done arthroscopically typically means the patient needs to spend less time in the hospital and has a faster recovery time.
Did you know that last year there were more than a half-million knee replacements performed in the U.S.? According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, [link to www.aaos.org ] knee replacements are one of the most successful medical procedures that are performed in modern medicine.
The knee is not only the largest joint in the body, but it also withstands a lot of wear and tear from everyday activities to sports. The cartilage within the knee acts as a “shock absorber” to cushion the joint. Damage to this area can cause pain to the point that walking is difficult if not impossible.
Why Would You Need to Have A Knee Replaced?
The most common reason for knee replacement is arthritis, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. [link to: www.aaos.org ] There are different types of arthritis that affect the knee joints. There is:
- Osteoarthritis, which usually occurs after age 50, and is due to “wear and tear” on the joint. While it’s typically seen in older people, it can happen in younger people as well.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, where a membrane surrounding this joint becomes inflamed, gradually causing problems with the cartilage.
- Post-traumatic arthritis, which is typically seen following any type of debilitating knee injury.
Knee replacements may also be needed if there is a deformity such as a bowed knee or if nonsurgical treatment has been ineffective at stopping pain.
What Happens During a Knee Replacement?
A knee replacement is a delicate, involved procedure that is done every day by our expert orthopedic surgeons. However, we’re going to just give a basic overview of how it is done. A knee replacement (also called knee arthroplasty) involves four steps:
- The bone is prepared and worn or damaged cartilage is removed. In addition, a bit of underlying bone may also be removed.
- Metal implants are positioned in place of the removed cartilage and bone.
- The kneecap is resurfaced. Some orthopedic specialists may not do this, depending upon the individual case.
- A medical-grade spacer is placed. This is typically made of an advanced type of plastic. This creates a smooth surface on which the joint can glide.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than 300,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States.
Why Would You Need a Hip Replacement?
Sometimes, a fracture leaves extensive discomfort that is not relieved by nonsurgical methods. This means that walking or getting up from a chair can be painful. When this dramatically affects your day-to-day life, you should speak with an orthopedic specialist at Conway Medical Center to see if you are a candidate for a hip replacement.
Your hip also may need to be replaced if you have:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Post-traumatic arthritis
- Avascular necrosis, where a hip injury has limited the blood flow to the area.
- A childhood hip disease—even those that are treated during childhood. These diseases can still lead to arthritis later because the hip often does not grow normally.
What Happens During A Hip Replacement?
Once again, we’re just going to provide a simplified version of the entire process. A hip replacement is also called a total hip arthroplasty.
- The hip is a ball and socket joint. The first thing that is done by the orthopedic surgeon is to remove the damaged femoral head. This is part of the femur. The femur is a large bone in your leg, sometimes referred to as the thighbone. The stem is then placed into the femur’s hollow center.
- In the upper part of this stem, a ball replaces the damaged part of the femur. This ball is usually made of metal or ceramic. It’s held in place by either screws or cement.
- A spacer is inserted to allow smooth gliding in-between the new ball and socket joints.
Spinal Surgeries Such as Spinal Fusions and Laminectomies
Your spine is the nerve center of your entire body. Any messages from your brain travel through your spine and are then relayed to other parts of your nervous system. If you’re interested in learning more about how the spine works, you can check out these useful illustrations from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
This is a very delicate system, and any orthopedic surgeon must work with precise expertise. This is one reason why we’re particularly proud of our minimally invasive spinal surgery techniques at Conway Medical Center. This, coupled with our stellar team of orthopedic specialists, have made our Spinal Center the provider of choice for the region.
What is a Laminectomy?
The lamina is the back end of your vertebrae. The vertebrae are the bones that comprise your spinal column. A laminectomy is also known as decompression surgery. This procedure, performed by an orthopedic specialist, removes the lamina. As a result, there is less pressure on the nerves and spinal cord.
Why Would You Need A Laminectomy?
According to the Mayo Clinic, a laminectomy is used to relieve pain only after nonsurgical treatments have been unsuccessful. These nonsurgical treatments may involve physical therapy medication or even injections. If pain becomes dramatically worse after trying nonsurgical treatments, your orthopedic specialist may suggest a laminectomy.
Laminectomies are also used to treat:
- Herniated discs
- Intense pain not helped by nonsurgical means
- Muscle weakness and numbness that hinders standing or walking
- Loss of bowel control
What Happens During a Laminectomy?
An experienced orthopedic specialist, like ours at Conway Medical Center, will make preparations for your procedure.
- The orthopedic surgeon makes an incision in the area that is affected. They will then use tiny instruments to move your muscles away from your spine.
- Afterward, these small instruments remove the affected bone.
- If you have a herniated disc, your orthopedic surgeon will remove any pieces of the disk that have broken loose and repair the herniated disc.
What is a Spinal Fusion?
If you’re having problems with small bones in your spine, you may need to have two of them “welded” together to create one solid bone. Its purpose is to not only stabilize the spine but to also protect the disks between.
When Would You Need a Spinal Fusion?
You may need this procedure if you have problems such as:
- A herniated disc
- A tumor
- Spondylolisthesis, or a slipped disc
- Spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal column
- Fractured vertebra
- An infection
How is a Spinal Fusion Procedure Done?
A bone graft must be placed between the vertebrae. This will be used to aid the fusion. This encourages the vertebrae to heal together, forming a solid bone.
In some cases, other materials are used to help provide structural support to the vertebrae. Your orthopedic surgeon may use screws, rods and plates to help in a process called internal fixation. This can help improve the rate of healing. The benefits are that patients can move sooner after the procedure.
See Why Conway Medical Center is the Leader in Orthopedic Medicine
We don’t want you to live with severe, chronic pain. In many cases, your discomfort can be successfully treated by one of our renowned orthopedic specialists. We create a tailored plan just for you, and we’ve partnered with Coastal Orthopedics, one of the longest-established orthopedic practices in the area.
We care for our patients because of our tireless dedication, not for achieving accolades. However, we have been ranked #1 by CareChex for medical excellence and #1 for patient safety.
We have a state-of-the-art:
If you want to experience the perfect combination of innovative medicine, experienced surgeons and a passion for providing the best in patient care, contact us for more information. We want you to be free from pain so you can start the next chapter of your life.
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “Spinal Fusion.”
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “ACL Reconstruction.”
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “Hip Replacement.”
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, “Knee Replacement.”
Mayo Clinic. “Laminectomy”