Care from the best orthopedic surgeon can change your life.
When the bones and soft tissues that make up your musculoskeletal system are causing some type of pain or limiting mobility and range of motion, it’s usually due to strain from overuse or over-extension. It’s this type of pain that often goes away with home remedies, over-the-counter medications, some rest, or the use of a heating pad or ice pack. But when something more serious than sore muscles is causing discomfort, you may be referred to orthopedic surgeon for further treatment.
- The best orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles will explore other conservative treatments once a correct diagnosis has been made before suggesting surgery.
- While each situation is different, there are certain techniques and types of surgery commonly employed and performed by orthopedic surgeons to help patients improve quality of life.
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Sometimes referred to as arthroscopy, arthroscopic surgery is usually done with outpatient procedures. First used in the 1960s, arthroscopic surgery is now commonplace, especially for many orthopedic procedures. During an arthroscopy, a small tube called an arthroscope with optical fibers and lenses is inserted through a small incision. The images produced by the arthroscope are displayed on a monitor so the surgeon can view the inside of the affected joint or area of the body. With a knee arthroscopy, for instance, an orthopedic surgeon may get a better look inside of a knee joint to see whether or not there is additional damage to other ligaments from an ACL injury. An arthroscopy can be done for exploratory purposes only, or to remove tissues or fluids for laboratory examination. Arthroscopic surgery may also be recommended for patients with:
- SDamage from non-inflammatory, inflammatory, or infectious types of arthritis
- Cartilage tears
- Ligament strains and tears
- Pain from loose tissues or bone chips
- Excessive fluid build-up around a joint
- Abnormalities affecting feet or ankles
Soft Tissue Repair
Many orthopedic issues involve soft tissues. Even though joints may not be directly damaged, nearby joints and bones can still be affected by soft tissue tears or injuries. A rotator cuff tear, for example, sometimes results in added pressure on the shoulder joint and upper arm muscles. This added stress may eventually damage the shoulder’s ball-and-socket joint or contribute to a dislocation. Soft tissue repair performed by an orthopedic surgeon usually involves repairing the tear, reattaching the torn ligament or tendon, or replacing the damaged tissue with one from another area of the patient’s body, or from a donor.
Joint Replacement and Revision
With joint replacement, an orthopedic surgeon replaces a damaged joint with an artificial one made of a combination of plastic and metal. Full replacement is often recommended when damage to a joint is widespread, as may be the case with a hip or knee joint affected by arthritis. Revision joint replacement is a procedure performed when an existing artificial joint has worn out or become damaged.
Bone Fracture Repair
Bones can break, or fracture, in several different ways. If a clean break occurs, bracing and casting are usually effective ways to minimize movement while the affected bone heals. It’s when fractures are more severe that the broken pieces of bone may have to be repositioned and held in place with screws, wires, and other hardware. Surgery may also be necessary if a fracture has healing improperly.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
The best orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles will perform procedures that minimize risks as much as possible. This is why many top surgeons steer patients towards minimally invasive surgery whenever it makes sense to do so. Procedures of this nature are performed with smaller incisions that target the affected area in ways that often avoid nearby muscles, nerves, and other structures. While arthroscopic techniques are often part of minimally invasive surgery, such procedures often include other methods that are less disruptive for patients. For instance, minimally invasive spine surgery may involve accessing the spine from the front (anterior) side rather than the back (posterior) side – and some procedures are performed from the side of the body to avoid cutting muscles.
Ideal candidate for minimally invasive surgery are individuals who are otherwise healthy with no significant underlying health issues, like uncontrolled diabetes, that may increase surgery risks. Many traditional surgical procedures, such as spinal fusion surgery, are also being performed with minimally invasive techniques. Common benefits associated with less invasive procedures include:
- Fewer surgical complications
- Less post-surgery pain
- Shorter recovery times
Most orthopedic surgeries and techniques discussed here are performed on knees, the back and neck, hips, shoulders, elbows, ankles, and wrists. The best orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles will direct you toward a procedure that’s right for your specific source of discomfort and goals. Athletes, for instance, tend to prefer procedures likely to fully restore muscle and joint function so they can perform at pre-injury levels. Some patients may have the goal of reaching a point where pain is more man
ageable, while others may wish to improve overall quality of life. It’s the role of an orthopedic surgeon to fully explore all available options, answer questions, and help a patient make a confident decision about what’s best for their situation.