An equally challenging problem to deformity correction is joint reconstruction which has come a long way in the last five years. Because “they are high-weight bearing joints,” hip and knee are the most common joints that undergo reconstruction. New materials and less invasive surgical techniques have made reconstructed joints last much longer and with less recuperative time and pain.
New techniques that allow for more accurate diagnosis and precise corrections have also changed our ideas about the ideal candidate for reconstruction. Now patients as young as 30 and into their 90’s can find relief and enjoy a better quality of life. Younger patients, for example, who have cartilage defects as a the result of trauma can take advantage of an innovative approach called autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI). ACI involves using the patient’s own cartilage cells, multiplying them in the laboratory, and then using the newly-grown cells to patch damage that eventually multiply after implantation and fill in the damaged cartilage with new tissue.
However, our first efforts are always conservative – we try methods like physical therapy, medications and injections, but when these methods are not effective we use the most advanced surgical options. Such materials as metal, polyethylene, ceramics, or combinations of those materials are selected based on the reason and goals of the surgery, as well as which joint is being replaced.
Although the hip, knee, spine and shoulder are the most typical joints replaced, because joints are found anywhere that bones are connected, even smaller joints like elbows, hands, fingers, wrists, feet, and ankles are susceptible to injury, overuse, and osteoarthritis. And like other joints, replacement may be the only way to permanently reduce pain. These joints may be small, but we rely on them for proper movement, flexibility, and function.
Joint replacements require a combination of surgical expertise and collaboration among a variety of specialists throughout the patient’s entire course of treatment. No matter what the problem or how complex the surgery, our approach to wellness always begins with preoperative education as a vital part of any corrective measure. Our program teaches you what to expect, how to prepare for your surgery and the process of recovering from your procedure. We believe this is the most effective way for our patients to enjoy the optimum results and benefits of any procedure and we encourage them to be fully involved in every step.