Orthopaedic surgery is a branch of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. This includes bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Orthopaedic surgeons are trained to perform a wide range of surgical procedures to treat a variety of conditions, from broken bones and sprains to arthritis and degenerative diseases.
Before undergoing orthopaedic surgery, it is important for patients to understand what to expect. This includes the pre-operative process, the surgical procedure itself, and the post-operative recovery period.
The pre-operative process typically involves a consultation with the orthopaedic surgeon. During this consultation, the surgeon will take a detailed medical history, conduct a physical examination, and may order imaging tests such as x-rays or MRI scans to help diagnose the condition and plan the surgery. The surgeon will also explain the risks and benefits of the surgery and answer any questions the patient may have.
The surgical procedure itself will vary depending on the type of surgery being performed. Some orthopaedic surgeries are performed as “outpatient” procedures, which means the patient goes home the same day as the surgery. Other surgeries may require an overnight stay in the hospital. Common orthopaedic surgeries include:
- Joint replacement surgery such as hip or knee replacement
- Arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses a small camera to visualize the inside of a joint.
- Fracture surgery, which involves the realignment and stabilization of broken bones
- Spinal surgery, which involves the repair or replacement of damaged vertebrae
- Soft tissue surgery, which involves the repair or reconstruction of tendons, ligaments, or muscles
During the surgery, the patient will be under general anesthesia, meaning they will be asleep and pain-free throughout the procedure. The surgery itself can take anywhere from a few hours to several hours, depending on the type of surgery.
After the surgery, the patient will be taken to a recovery room where they will be closely monitored until they are stable enough to be discharged or moved to a hospital room. Depending on the type of surgery, patients may need to stay in the hospital for several days or be discharged on the same day.
The post-operative recovery period is an important time for the patient as the body starts to heal. It’s important for the patient to follow the surgeon’s instructions and any physical therapy recommendations. Physical therapy can help to improve strength and range of motion, reduce pain and swelling and speed up the healing process.
For the first few days after the surgery, the patient may experience pain and swelling in the area of the surgery. Pain management is an important part of the recovery process, and the patient will be prescribed medication to help manage pain.
The recovery process can vary depending on the type of surgery and the individual patient’s condition. Some patients may be able to return to work and normal activities within a few weeks, while others may need several months of recovery before they are able to return to their normal activities.
It’s important to note that orthopaedic surgery is not always the only solution for musculoskeletal conditions. It’s important for the patient to have realistic expectations about the surgery and the recovery process. In some cases, non-surgical treatment options such as physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes may be more appropriate.
In conclusion, orthopaedic surgery is a branch of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system.