Overview of joint surgery

Joint surgery for arthritis are sought for permanent removal of pain from joints. This however is a painstaking issue because severe complications can follow. Find out how you could make it easy for yourself and your surgeon.


The surgical treatment for arthritis is the ultimate and the last option for arthritis relief. When medications, injections or natural remedies fail to work wonders for your feeble, painful or deformed joints surgery could help you completely escape them.

Surgical methods imply that the joints are either cleansed off all debris or impurities, or replaced or fused with other adjacent bones. Researchers have classified surgical procedures into the below lying categories.


Consultation with a surgeon who specializes in joint surgery is the first step. Each patient must be evaluated carefully to determine what type of surgical procedure to choose. Since joints are already weakened from Arthritis, surgery may improve yet not make those painful parts as good as new. And as with any surgery, the potential for complications needs to be understood.


Prior to surgery, patient needs to get in the best possible condition. Losing weight for an obese patient can greatly improve the recovery process. So it makes sense to take a few months to lose weight and develop a moderate exercise program to prepare the entire body to tolerate post-surgical recovery.


Any other health problems, such as an infection, blood pressure or heart condition needs to be under medical management in plenty of time before surgery. The treating physician for these other conditions also needs to communicate frequently with the surgeon to coordinate care and medications.


Types of joint surgery


Doctors or rheumatologists often prescribe blood thinning medicines and/or physical exercises before a surgical arthritis treatment in order to increase blood circulation. There are three major procedures involved for treating severe arthritis conditions which are listed here below.


Synovectomy or Surgical Cleaning


Synovectomy is undertaken when a joint is inflamed and affected with infected and/or diseased tissues. The joint is cleared off the synovium fluid and other impurities that eat away the cartilages. It is common in the case of rheumatoid arthritis and for other types of hand arthritis.However, the synovium very often grows back years after the surgery and the problem can recur. Synovectomy may be performed by surgically opening the knee or with arthroscopy.


Replacement of Joints or arthroplasty


Arthroplasty is used for severe cases of hand arthritis. The artificial joint is made of metal, plastic, silicon rubber or out the patient’s own body tissue like the tendon. This surgery is widely employed since many years with overwhelming results, especially for the knees and hips. Other joints like shoulders, elbows and knuckles, may also be replaced.


Arthroscopy or Arthroscopic Debridement


Arthroscopy is the most basic surgical procedure for arthritis and is less stressful on the patient than other types of surgery. Done in an outpatient setting, this procedure generally results in a faster recovery. Arthroscopic surgery lets the surgeon see inside the joint area with the insertion of a miniature camera on a thin tube called the arthroscope.


That small arthroscope is a powerful tool which can perform some procedures such as cartilage repair, removal of loose cartilage, smoothing over a ragged joint or taking tissue for a biopsy. Arthroscopic surgery is most often used for knees and shoulders.After the surgery, doctor may restrict your daily activities. You may have to use crutches or wear a cast based on the type of the surgery.



Osteotomy attempts to reverse the bone deformity by resetting the bone in a stronger position.Osteotomy means the correction of deformity of the bones by cutting and repositioning the bone, especially in people suffering from mild osteoarthritis and misalignment of specific joints and. Osteotomy is capable of correcting the forces across the joint, particularly for weight-bearing joints of the knee. It is extremely useful in patients with unilateral hip osteoarthritis who are too young for a total hip surgery.




Resection is the process of removing a part or all of a bone to improve joint function and relieve pain in feet, elbows and wrists.. This is often prescribed when diseased joints in the foot make simple activities as walking very painful and difficult, or to remove painful bunions. Resection on part of the elbow, thumb or wrist can help improve their function and relieve pain.


Revision Joint Surgery


Revision Joint Surgery involves the replacement of damaged bone and artificial joints with specially designed plastic and metal parts. This surgery becomes imminent when a previous joint replacement wears off. This surgery is more difficult and usually takes much longer than total joint replacement surgery. It is important to make sure your surgeon is well-experienced in this kind of surgery.


Fusion or Arthrodesis

Arthrodesis is a bone fusion to relieve pain, often in the wrists, thumbs, fingers, and ankles. The two bones which form a joint are conjoined so that the resulting joint loses its flexibility. For grafting, physician may use a piece of your own bone which is taken from hip or lower leg bones. Usually, this surgery is quite successful. A few patients suffer from wound healing problems that may be addressed by additional surgery or bracing.

Unicondylar Knee Replacement

Unicondylar Knee Replacement is a method used when only either of the two major joint compartments of the knee – medial or lateral – is badly affected with arthritis. The advantages of a unicondylar versus a total knee joint replacement include less bone loss at surgery and a usually shorter operating time and recovery period.

Approach of the joint replacement surgeon

Ensure that your surgeon recognizes and examines you on the following grounds:

  • The effects of the infected joint on the surrounding and other joints
  • Your physical limitations
  • The psychological challenges
  • Complex deformities
  • Poor quality of bone
  • Higher rates and probabilities for further complication

Tips to follow after a joint surgery

Experts suggest that one should follow the following instructions after undergoing a surgical treatment for their joints:

  • Do not bend too often and avoid sitting on low chairs after a hip surgery
  • Do not cross your legs and sit after a knee surgery
  • Avoid twisting your legs after a lower limb surgery
  • Don’t strain your hips by lifting heavy things
  • Do not lie down on the operated side in case of a hip, hand or leg surgery
  • Consult your doctor if you are suffering from any kind of pain, bleeding or breathing difficulties


Always remember that surgical procedures for arthritis are ways to correct deformities caused from the disease. Though it can provide temporary relief from the pain and discomfort experienced at the joints, future referrals and additional treatments are necessary for achieving more comfort.