Simple things like walking, using the stairs to go up and down, and even sitting can be tough when you have joint discomfort. The good news is that the pain does not have to be something you endure. For long-term joint pain relief, there are numerous therapeutic choices offered, shares Dr. Amith Reddy, Senior Consultant Orthopaedics, Robotic Joint Replacement & Arthroscopic Surgery.
Joint preservation procedures are less invasive and are aimed to restore joint function and relieve joint pain. Total joint replacement provides more long-lasting relief, but is comparatively more invasive. The outcomes of the surgery, like any surgery, also depend on the orthopaedic surgeon's level of experience with these kind of procedures.
Joint preservation procedures and joint replacement surgery are your two primary alternatives when it comes to surgical treatments for joint pain. The extent of joint damage and pain, pre existing deformity, age, weight, muscle strength, and flexibility, will determine which option is best for you. Your issue can be identified by an orthopaedic surgeon, who can then suggest the most effective course of action for treating joint discomfort.
Reasons to consider joint preservation procedures or joint Replacement :
- Osteoarthritis: A painful joint condition brought on due to worn out cartilage.
- Inflammatory Disorders: Gout, autoimmune / degenerative conditions causing joint damage.
- Trauma: A number of different forms of injuries can be brought on by poor body mechanics, accidents, or trauma associated to sports.
What Is Joint Replacement?
Most people are aware of Joint replacement surgery or arthroplasty, it is a procedure in which an arthritic (worn out) joint surface is replaced with a metal, plastic or ceramic device called a prosthesis. The prosthesis is designed to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint, and more importantly, provide pain relief. It is the preferred approach for patients with severe or long-term damage to their joints. Joint replacement is a very successful procedure historically and generally very safe, and recovery times have never been faster.
However, if the damage to your joint is repairable or very limited, replacement may not be ideal and it is wise to avoid this type of surgery until all other options have been exhausted.
What Is Joint Preservation?
Joint preservation is the use of surgical or non-surgical techniques to keep a degenerating joint from needing a joint replacement. The aim is to restore normal movement and decrease pain.
Joint preservation is a great option for young patients or patients with minimal to moderate damage. Your existing joint can be maintained, healed, and rehabilitated to improve function and lessen pain.
Joint preservation can be the best option if you still have a lot of good cartilage tissue. Younger people typically respond better to preservation than older patients do. Muscle strengthening or weight loss regimen reduces joint stress and boosts joint function. It may also be beneficial to have physical treatment designed to improve muscular strength and flexibility.
- Non-surgical and surgical techniques are both types of joint preservation.
- There are a number of non-surgical treatments available. These include:
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy
- Stem cell treatment from bone marrow or from fatty tissue
When to Consider Joint Preservation Surgery
Joint preservation surgeries include treatments such as cartilage repair with patches or grafts from another part of the joint or an absorbable collagen implant which acts as a scaffold, correcting deformities that will help improve the mechanics of the joint and lead to pain relief. These are called osteotomies.
When weighing your alternatives, your doctor takes into account these variables:
- Age - Preservation measures are frequently more effective as you get younger.
- Weight – Your joints are put under increased stress and pressure as your weight increases. The best thing you can do for an arthritic joint is to lose weight.
- Muscle conditioning and strength: Movement is powered by muscles. Reduced joint strain and pain can be achieved by maintaining or regaining muscular strength and flexibility.
- Severity - early cartilage damage and tiny areas of cartilage erosion or thinning can be successfully treated with joint restoration procedures. However, replacement is occasionally the best option if the cartilage is almost completely gone, leaving bone touching bone, or if the bone underlying the cartilage is eroding.
- Location: joint Restoration procedures are most commonly used to treat knee joint damage but can also be used to treat hip and Shoulder joint related issues.
The key is receiving the appropriate care for your condition. If you suffer from chronic joint pain, both options are attractive. The determining factor is the extent of the joint’s damage — more the damage, more likely a full replacement is necessary.
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