Although most of the cases of arthritis may get better with conservative therapies but if all these fail and joint pain persists and have debilitating effect, surgery may be the final choice that can provide relief and improve quality of life of the person. As far as surgery is concerned, following types of surgeries can be performed depending upon the patient and disease requirement:
Total Joint Replacement (TJR), or Total Joint Arthroplasty
It is the surgical procedure that is performed to replace the damaged joint with an implant that will imitate the motion and flexibility of the natural joint. Implant is usually made from combinations of metal, plastic and/or ceramic components.
Ideal patient for TJR: Elderly arthritis patient with severe joint pain and decreased mobility of the joint can benefit from TJR.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure performed with small incisions, specialized instruments and a tiny camera to appropriately diagnose and fix various abnormalities of the joint like soft tissue tears, repair damaged cartilage; and remove broken, free-floating cartilage pieces.
Ideal patient for Arthroscopy: Arthroscopy is best suited for active and young people with joint pain that is because of any of the above mentioned reasons.
It is the procedure in which an implant is replaced with any one of the three compartments of the knee, or a metal cup replaces the hip socket and the damaged of joint is reshaped with prosthesis.
Ideal patient for joint resurfacing: Best candidate for joint resurfacing depends upon the joint to be operated. E.g. in case of knee, older and less active patients with arthritis are ideal whereas in case of hip joint, men younger than 60, especially athletes or those with physically demanding jobs are ideal.
It is the surgical procedure that involves cutting and removing of bone or adding a wedge of bone near a damaged joint.
Ideal patient for osteotomy: It is recommended for younger patients in their 30s who are too young for total joint replacement.
It is the procedure performed to remove inflamed or over grown synovium that is damaging the surrounding cartilage and joints.
Ideal patient for synovectomy: Patients with pain due to inflamed or overgrown synovium around the knee, elbow, wrist, fingers or hips.
Arthrodesis, or Fusion
It is the surgical procedure in which joint bones are converted to one continuous joint by using pins, plates, rods or other hardware.
Ideal patient for arthrodesis: People with severe joint damage from OA or inflammatory arthritis.
Advantages of Surgery in Arthritis patients
Most of the procedures are safe with proven track record.
Remarkable reduction in joint pain within 3-6 months of surgery
Improved mobility and range of motion of the joint
Better daily functioning and quality of life of the patient
Increases the ability to participate in high-impact sports and activities that require flexibility, such as martial arts and yoga
Some procedures like arthroscopy or osteotomy may delay the need for a joint replacement
Reduces need for medications like anti-inflammatory drugs