Types of Surgical Procedures
Arthrodesis: a bone fusion done to relieve pain, usually in the ankles, wrists, fingers and thumbs. The two bones forming a joint are joined together so that the resulting fused joint loses flexibility. However, a fused joint can bear weight better, is more stable and is no longer painful.
Arthroscopy: the use of a tool called an arthroscope, a very thin tube with a light at the end, to see directly into the joint through a small incision in the skin. The arthroscope is connected to a closed-circuit television and allows the physician to see how much damage there is, and to treat what may be causing pain, such as torn meniscus cartilage (the cartilage disk in between the two articular surfaces of a joint), articular cartilage debris, synovial or joint lining tissue and ligaments. This procedure is done most often on knees and shoulders.
Arthroplasty: the rebuilding of joints. This can be done by resurfacing or relining the ends of bones when cartilage has worn away and bone has been destroyed. Arthroplasty also refers to total joint replacement.
Osteotomy: the correction of bone deformity by cutting and repositioning the bone, ideally in people with misalignment of certain joints and mild osteoarthritis. Osteotomy can correct the forces across the joint, particularly for weight-bearing joints of the knee. It is also useful in people with unilateral hip osteoarthritis who are too young for a total hip replacement.
Resection: the removal of part or all of a bone. This is often done when diseased joints in the foot make walking very painful and difficult, or to remove painful bunions. Resection on part of the wrist, thumb or elbow can help improve function and relieve pain.
Revision Joint Surgery: the replacement of artificial joints and damaged bone with special plastic and metal parts. This surgery is necessary when a previous joint replacement wears out. It is more difficult and takes longer than total joint replacement surgery. As always, make sure your doctor is experienced in this type of surgery. View an animation of revision hip surgery or revision knee surgery.
Synovectomy: the removal of the synovium or tissues lining the joints. This reduces pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis and prevents or slows down the destruction of joints. However, the synovium often grows back several years after surgery and the problem can happen again. Synovectomy can be done by surgically opening the knee or with arthroscopy.
Total joint replacement: the removal of damaged bone or joint tissue, which is then replaced with metal, ceramic and plastic parts. This surgery has been widely used for many years with excellent results, especially for knees and hips. Other joints, such as shoulders, elbows and knuckles, may also be replaced. This surgery has enabled many people who were severely disabled to become more active. View an animation of total hip replacement , total knee replacement or total shoulder replacement surgery.
Unicondylar Knee Replacement: a procedure used when only one of the two major joint compartments of the knee - medial or lateral - is severely involved with arthritis. The knee joint has three compartments - medial, lateral and the kneecap compartment. The advantages of a unicondylar versus a total knee joint replacement include less bone loss at surgery, easier revision when and if that becomes necessary and a usually shorter operating time and recovery period.