Joint Preservation Procedures and Hip and Knee Treatment and Surgery
The right treatment and surgery to preserve your hip and knee joints is based on a number of important factors, including your age, present health, health history, the extent and location of the injury, and your history with other medications and treatments. Joint preservation procedures of the hip and knee are innovative ways to solve common joint problems, such as hip dysplasia, early osteoarthritis and others, without requiring full replacement.
Joint Preservation Procedures of the Hip and Knee Diagnosis
Joint preservation of the hip and knee is a new way to help relieve joint problems as naturally as possible. If you are having any joint pain in your hip or your knee, it is important to seek medical attention. To diagnose your condition, your doctor will ask you a series of questions about your past and current health and perform a physical exam. To best determine the cause of your joint pain and find the right treatment, one of the following techniques will be used:
- X-Ray (Radiograph) – This is typically the first technique used in any joint injury. It involves sending radiation through the affected area of the body. The bone then absorbs the radiation and provides doctors with a black and white image that will display any breaks or fractures. This is always done first to determine the health of the bones in the joint.
- Computed Tomography Scan (CT or CAT scan) – A CAT scan combines X-ray technology with computer technology to generate a three-dimensional image of the bone and tissues in the area. This can give a better image of the problem.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – This imaging procedure puts you in a vessel. Here, magnetic waves are moved around you, creating vibrations. The resonance from these vibrations is then turned into an image, which allows the doctor to see skeletal structures as well as blood vessels and tissues.
- Arthroscopy – This procedure allows the doctor to make a small incision and place a camera inside the area of the injury to get more detail. This is usually done in conjunction with a surgery, as it requires anesthesia.
Nonsurgical Treatment for Joint Preservation of the Hip and Knee
In some occasions, joint preservation of the hip and knee can happen without surgery. When the joints are stable enough to recover on their own without the risk of displacement, they can instead be immobilized and rested for a certain period of time, allowing them to heal naturally. In these instances, braces or a cast will be used to keep the leg immobile. Crutches may also be used to avoid putting any weight on the joints as they heal.
Surgery for Joint Preservation of the Hip and Knee
In most cases, joint preservation of the hip and knee requires surgery. The aim of most joint preservation procedures of the hip and knee is to repair any bone damage and reconnect any broken bones or torn ligaments that may cause the joint to not function properly. The majority of joint preservations of the hip and knee are treated surgically through one of the following techniques:
- Internal Fixation – This is when metal plates, screws, or pins are used to stabilize the bone. They are placed alongside the breakage point and are used to hold the displaced bones in the proper location so they can heal correctly. In many instances, the plates and rods are not surgically removed once the healing process is finished. This is only done if they become cumbersome.
- Arthroscopy – This requires a small incision, into which a scope is inserted to see inside the injured area. Once inside, the doctor is able to clear out any damaged tissue, allowing the joint to heal properly.
- Osteotomy – This procedure is done by realigning the bones. By doing this, doctors can strategically place cartilage in the areas of the joints that require the most weight-bearing strength. This allows the joint to endure less stress, thereby reducing the symptoms of dysplasia or osteoarthritis.
- Resurfacing – Instead of replacing the entire joint, metal caps are used to resurface the joints in the ball and socket areas. This is primarily done in hips and is a relatively new procedure. It has been proven effective because of its ability to reduce stress and friction on the joint muscles, reducing the symptoms of painful joint diseases.
- Implants – This is similar to resurfacing but instead requires full implants of part of the joint area. These implants have also been proven to be very successful at reducing pain and are used to help preserve natural tissues in the joint. Together, this creates a healthier joint without requiring an entire replacement.
Joint Preservation Procedures of the Hip and Knee Research
As the population ages and more active young people get injured, researchers aim to find a way to preserve joints without requiring replacements. Replacements, while sometimes necessary, can leave a person immobile and still in some pain. Now research is being done on joint preservation procedures of the hip and knee to find better ways to relieve common disorders without full replacements.
One of the newest forms of joint preservation procedures of the hip and knee involves resurfacing part of the joint. While the concept itself is not new, the materials used in the past have frequently caused concern. With metal-on-metal resurfacing materials, many medical doctors found that there were on average more ions found in the liver, kidneys and urine of patients who underwent this type of surgery, leading to other complications and concerns.
But as research continues, scientists are making advancements in which materials are used and the process by which the procedure occurs. By refining the materials used, patients have increasingly seen better outcomes with fewer complications, resulting in more success rates.
As research on treatment is ongoing, it is a good idea for your conversation about it with your doctor to be ongoing as well.
The Rehabilitation Network of the North Shore-LIJ Health System is dedicated to providing you and your family with result-oriented, comprehensive rehabilitation services. Our goal is to help you and your loved ones find relief from pain and get moving again after an accident, illness, injury or surgery. We’re your partner in a safe, healthy, more rapid recovery.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's Trauma Services in New York performs Joint Preservation Procedures of the Hip and Knee surgery as well as a broad range of nonsurgical and surgical treatments for conditions that affect the bones.