An orthopaedic surgeon, such as one from a place like Tedder Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, specializes in operations that involve the musculo-skeletal system, which is a fairly broad range of procedures. However, most surgeons in this specialty find that the majority of their work is concentrated in a few of the most common orthopaedic surgeries. Below are descriptions of the top five surgeries an orthopaedic surgeon will usually perform.
Knee Arthroscopy and Meniscectomy
During this procedure, a surgeon will make a small incision in order to look at the knee joint and diagnose a problem. Many patients with knee pain might suffer from conditions that are impossible to diagnose without an arthroscopic procedure. In order to be best prepared to treat a knee problem, the surgeon will look into the joint itself with a small camera called an arthroscope. The surgeon may also use miniature instruments, such as a proctoscope, to look around, but the camera and tools are so small that only a tiny incision is needed.
Another very common procedure is the knee meniscectomy, wherein an orthopaedic surgeon must trim or remove the entire meniscus. This is usually required due to serious injury where the meniscus has been torn or damaged, but arthritis in older patients can also require a meniscectomy and transplant. A meniscal transplant can be performed using donor cartilage to replace the damaged tissue.
Shoulder Arthroscopy and Decompression
The second most common surgical procedure in the orthopaedic specialty is an arthroscopy of the shoulder joint. Like the knee arthroscopy, this is an exploratory procedure used to determine the reason for a patient's shoulder pain and prescribe the best treatment. Again, a small incision is made through which an arthroscope can be inserted to view the joint.
Shoulder decrompression, also known as subacromial acromioplasty, treats a condition in which the patient's shoulder bones and tendons rub against each other and cause pain. This procedure is usually performed under general anaesthesia and with the use of an arthroscope. The surgeon can repair damaged tendons or cut and reshape the shoulder blade to reduce pain in the joint.
Carpal Tunnel Release
This orthopaedic surgery relieves one of the most common wrist problems: carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition causes pain or weakness in the patient's hand and wrist, due to swelling of ligaments inside the narrow carpal tunnel. During carpal tunnel release, the surgeon will use small instruments to cut through the carpal ligament and create more space for the tendons and nerves. The procedure is called a 'release' because it is intended to alleviate pressure from these tendons and nerves that causes carpal tunnel pain. Carpal tunnel release can be performed under local or general anaesthesia.
The fourth most common orthopaedic procedure is knee chrondroplasty, during which damaged tissue in the knee is repaired or removed to make room for healthy tissue to grow. Like the other pcoedures above, knee chondroplasty is also an arthroscopic surgery performed through a small incision with the aid of a tiny camera. Chrondoplasty is most often prescribed for cases with mild to moderate cartilage wear, such as in cases of arthritis. With the aid of an arthroscope, the surgeon can trim damaged cartilage and smooth out arthritic joint surfaces.
Removal of an Orthopaedic Support Implant
Last on the list is a surgery that may account for 30-35% of all orthopaedic procedures: the removal of a support implant. Support implants may include metal pins, screws, plates, or bone implants that are inserted to support broken bones until they heal. Once healed, these devices can be removed from surrounding healthy tissue. While some implants are designed to be permanent, the most common are temporary insertions that help during the healing process.