People get injured in different ways; it could be due to accidents – a bad fall, or a car collision; others may have incurred injury from sports activities, work-related accidents, etc. In any case, if the injuries sustained were minor, they will most likely heal on their own. However, more serious injuries may require the attention of doctors who possess adequate knowledge, skills, and training. Orthopedic surgeons have the education and training needed to repair damage and deformities of the musculoskeletal system. Other than injuries and falls, such conditions may also be degenerative in nature like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Other conditions treated by orthopedic surgeons include congenital defects, infections, sports injuries and bone tumors. Treatment may range from joint replacement to amputation.
Finding an Orthopedic Surgeon
Orthopedic surgeons have different areas of specialization. Those who have completed medical school for 8 years and did not further train thereafter are classified as general surgeons; spine surgeons, on the other hand, are those with extensive specialization training in treating spinal diseases and conditions like osteoporosis, scoliosis and osteoarthritis; foot and ankle surgeons are those who have had specialization trainings in the treatment of foot and ankle diseases and conditions.
Patients normally visit their primary care doctor when they start to feel that the pain they are experiencing is out of the normal or ordinary. The primary care doctor will then order preliminary tests that will rule out other possible causes of such pain. In the end, if the test results point to conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system, for example, the patient will then be referred to an orthopedic surgeon. If suspicion points to spinal disorders, the patient will be referred to a spine surgeon.
While a referral is made by the primary care doctor, the patient may also check out the services of orthopedic surgeons. Visiting one or two of them for separate opinions will be helpful for the patient to arrive at the most advantageous solution. If surgical intervention happens to be a unanimous recommendation, then most likely it will be the best management for the patient’s case. Otherwise, he may opt for non-surgical treatment instead.
Conditions Requiring Orthopedic Surgery
Orthopedic surgery may refer to a wide range of surgical treatments for musculoskeletal diseases, sports injuries, congenital diseases, degenerative illnesses, etc.
Some of the conditions that require surgery are listed below:
1. Cerebral Palsy
Treatment of tight muscles and unusual stiffness related to cerebral palsy can be achieved by surgery. Some children with cerebral palsy have a joint or bone deformity that causes pain and restricts function – which should be surgically treated. Moreover, presence of permanent contracture or stiff joints should also be consulted with an orthopedic surgeon, same as when there are dislodged or abnormally functioning joints and when a spinal abnormality is not improved by other non-surgical treatment. Generally, surgery should be done when the child’s overall productivity is direly affected due to joint and bone deformity.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
While drugs can ease the pain and slow down arthritis, they cannot remedy the effects caused by joint damage. Orthopedic surgery is recommended for rheumatoid arthritis in order to relieve the pain caused by the disease and to gradually restore the patient’s normal activities. A weakened joint can only regain function if it is repaired or replaced.
3. Rotator Cuff Tears
A severe rotator cuff tear may end an athlete’s career if it is not appropriately addressed. The severity of the activity performed by the athletes may cause the tendons of the rotator cuff (four tendons and muscles that hold the arm in place and allow its movement) to tear partially and swell. Athletes who are likely to have rotator cuff tears include baseball players (specifically, pitchers), tennis players, swimmers and football players. This type of injury occurs when an athlete falls on his shoulder, uses an arm to prevent the fall and lifts heavy weights. Arthroscopy is done instead of the traditional open surgery because these people need to heal faster for the sake of their career.
4. Plantar Fascia Release Surgery
This surgical procedure involves cutting the affected plantar fascia ligament to relieve plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament). Patients who have this condition will be recommended for surgery if: 1.) they continue to have disabling symptoms for at least 6 to 12 months after non-surgical treatment, 2.) their ability or performance is severely affected, 3.) working abilities are restricted and hampered despite non-surgical treatment. Orthopedic surgeons may perform traditional open surgery or endoscopic surgery.
5. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve at the wrist or the carpal tunnel. This syndrome is typically characterized by the numbness, tingling, pain or weakness in the thumb, fingers, palm, and sometimes in the forearm. Orthopedic surgeons may recommend surgery if non-surgical treatments fail. Surgical intervention is done to reduce the pressure on the nerve in the carpal tunnel – either by open surgery or by endoscopic surgery.
About the Author
Cedric Loiselle is a highly talented writer providing quality articles for a wide range of niches including health and beauty. If you are looking for the best orthopedic surgeons Milwaukee offers, you should check out his articles for tips and advice.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/?CTT=97