Types of Arthritis Surgery

Many arthritis patients find that they may eventually need to undergo surgery. Here is a quick overview of the most common types of arthritis surgery and what they consist of.

Arthrodesis: This type of surgery involves fusion of the bones. It is usually done to relieve pain in the joints of the hands (fingers, wrists, thumbs) or the feet (ankles). Arthrodesis involves fusing the two bones that make up a joint. Fusing the bone results in loss of flexibility. But it also makes the joint much stronger and more stable, and can reduce pain significantly. Arthrodesis can help make joints strong enough to bear weight.

Osteotomy: This surgery focuses on correction of bone deformities. This surgery consists of cutting and repositioning the bone. This surgery is usually reserved for those patients that experience misalignment of the joint. Osteotomy is usually used in patients with mild or moderate osteoarthritis. Osteotomy helps correct the pressure and force of the joint. This surgery can be particularly effective of for patients who experience pressure in their knees. Osteotomy is also commonly used in patients who suffer from unilateral hip osteoarthritis. This surgery is usually reserved for those patients who are too young for total hip replacement. Patients find that osteotomy significantly reduces pain in the joints.

Arthroplasty: Arthroplasty literally means rebuilding of the joints. Arthroplasty involves resurfacing of the bones once they have worn down, or if the cartilage at the end of the bone has worn away. Arthroplasty can also refer sometimes to total joint replacement.

Total joint replacement surgery: Total joint replacement surgery involves the removal of damaged bone or tissue in order to replace it with artificial parts that are usually made out of ceramic, metal, or plastic. This type of surgery may become necessary when the patient becomes severely impaired or disabled due to joint stiffness and pain. The most common areas of the body to undergo total joint replacement surgery are the hips and knees. This surgery has been practiced for many years, with often-excellent results.

Revision Joint Surgery: This surgery consists of replacing damaged or worn down bone with artificial joints. Revision joint surgery generally uses special plastic or metal parts to replace the parts used in previous revision joint surgery. Previous joint replacement parts can wear down and will need to be replaced. Revision joint surgery can be difficult. The surgery generally takes longer than regular joint surgery. If you need revision joint surgery, make sure your surgeon is experienced in this particular type of surgery as it can be complex.

Synovectomy: This surgery involves the removal of the synovium. Synovium are the tissues that line the joints of your body. Many arthritis patients experience some damage to their synovium. Synovectomy can help reduce pain and swelling significantly, and especially those related to symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Synovectomy can also help prevent or at least slow the damage and destruction of the joints that are affected the most. Synovectomy is usually reserved for long-term rheumatoid arthritis cases.