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Orthopedic Surgery: Meaning, Scope, and Other details

Team AckoJan 18, 2024

Orthopedic Surgery has become a crucial field in enhancing the quality of life for many people with bone and joint problems. As people age and lifestyles become more sedentary, the demand for such surgeries has increased. With the advancement of modern science, these surgeries have become minimally invasive and highly effective. From total joint replacements to arthroscopic surgeries, there are a variety of options available for patients to regain function and mobility in their lives. This article covers an overview of Orthopedic Surgery along with some frequently asked questions.




What is Orthopedic Surgery?

Orthopedic Surgery refers to a branch of medicine that specialises in the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, muscles, and tendons. This type of surgery is used to treat a variety of conditions, such as fractures, arthritis, and spine disorders. 

Orthopedic surgeons often use minimally invasive techniques that allow for faster recovery times and less pain. In addition to surgery, Orthopedic doctors may also recommend non-surgical treatments like physical therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes to help manage or prevent musculoskeletal issues. They work closely with patients to develop personalised treatment plans based on their specific needs.

Types of Orthopedic Surgery

There are different types of Orthopedic surgeries that can be performed depending on the condition of the patient. Some of the common types of Orthopedic Surgery are as follows.

  1. Joint replacement surgery: It is a medical procedure that helps to take away damaged parts of a joint and exchange them with artificial parts. This type of surgery can help to relieve pain, improve mobility, and increase the overall quality of life for people who have joint problems. 

  2. Arthroscopy: It is another type of surgical procedure that involves inserting a small camera into a joint to diagnose and treat problems. This minimally invasive procedure is often used for knee and shoulder issues and can help to avoid open surgery. During arthroscopy, tiny instruments are also inserted to repair or remove damaged tissue. Recovery time for arthroscopy is typically much shorter than with open surgery, and patients can usually resume normal activities within a few weeks. However, physical therapy may still be needed to fully restore the joint's function.

  3. Soft tissue repair: This medical procedure can help resolve injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It may involve suturing torn tissue or reattaching it to bone, and can be done through open surgery or arthroscopy. 

  4. Fusion surgery: It involves joining two or more vertebrae in the spine to create a single, solid bone. This surgery is often recommended for people with spinal instability or severe spinal degeneration. Fusion surgery can help to relieve pain, improve stability, and prevent further damage to the spine. Recovery from fusion surgery can take several months, and patients often need to wear a back brace during the early stages of recovery. Physical therapy may also be necessary to help regain strength and mobility in the spine.

  5. Osteotomy: It refers to a process that involves cutting and reshaping bone. This type of surgery is often used to treat conditions such as osteoarthritis or to correct congenital deformities. Osteotomy can help to relieve pain, improve joint function, and delay or prevent the need for joint replacement surgery. 

  6. Fracture repair: It is the medical procedure that helps to fix broken bones. Based on the severity of the fracture, different treatments may be necessary, including casts, splints, or Surgery to insert pins, plates, or screws to hold the bone in place. Recovery time for fracture repair can be different as per the location and severity of the injury, and physical therapy may also be necessary to restore strength and range of motion. Complications such as infection or delayed healing can also occur, so it's important to carefully follow your doctor's instructions for care and recovery.

Common Orthopedic conditions that require surgery

There are many common Orthopedic conditions that may require surgery. Some of the most common conditions include the following.

  • Fractures

  • Joint injuries

  • Arthritis

  • Osteoporosis

  • Sports injuries

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

How is eligibility for Orthopedic Surgery determined?

Eligibility for Orthopedic Surgery is determined by a trained medical professional. The decision to undergo surgery is usually based on several factors, which are as follows.

  • The severity of the condition

  • The individual's age and overall health

  • The individual's pain level and their ability to perform daily activities

  • The success rates of surgery for that particular condition

  • The potential risks and complications of surgery

After a thorough examination and evaluation, the medical professional will discuss the options with the individual and make a recommendation for the best course of treatment. If surgery is recommended, the individual will typically undergo a pre-operative evaluation to ensure they are healthy enough for surgery.

Benefits of Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic Surgery can offer a variety of benefits, including the following.

  • Improved mobility and range of motion

  • Decreased pain and inflammation in affected areas

  • Corrected deformities and alignment issues

  • Reduced risk of further injury

  • Enhanced quality of life

  • Improved ability to perform daily activities

  • Faster recovery time

Preparing for Orthopedic Surgery

Preparing for Orthopedic Surgery is an important process that can help ensure a successful outcome. Here’s a guide of what you can anticipate from your doctor.

Before the surgery

  • Medical evaluation: This is the first step in preparing for Orthopedic Surgery. This may include blood tests, ECG, or other diagnostic tests.

  • Physical therapy: This can help you recover more quickly after Surgery.

  • Nutritional counselling: Proper nutrition is important for healing after Surgery. 

  • Psychological counselling: Orthopedic Surgery can be emotionally challenging. Counselling can help you manage any anxiety or stress you may be feeling about the Surgery.

  • Pre-surgery instructions: Your doctor will give you specific instructions to follow before surgery, such as when to stop eating and drinking, what medications to take or avoid, and how to prepare for your hospital or outpatient visit.

During Orthopedic Surgery

  • Types of anaesthesia: Your surgeon will determine which type of anaesthesia is appropriate for your surgery. This could include general anaesthesia, regional anaesthesia (such as an epidural), or sedation.

  • Surgery procedures: The exact surgery procedure will depend on your specific condition. Common Orthopedic surgeries include joint replacement, arthroscopy, and fracture repair. 

Recovery and rehabilitation

The following points highlight the recovery and rehabilitation phase of Orthopedic Surgery. 

  • Hospital stay: Depending on the type of surgery, you may need to stay in the hospital for a few days after the procedure. This allows your medical team to monitor your recovery and manage any complications.

  • Home recovery: Once you are discharged from the hospital, you will continue your recovery at home. This may include physical therapy exercises, rest, and medication to manage pain and prevent infection.

  • Physical therapy: Your therapist will help you rebuild strength and mobility in the affected area through exercises and stretches.

  • Pain management: Pain management is crucial during the recovery period. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication and may also suggest non-pharmacological pain management techniques such as ice or heat therapy, acupuncture or massage therapy.

  • Mental and emotional recovery: Recovery from Orthopedic Surgery can be challenging both mentally and emotionally. You may feel frustrated or anxious about the limitations on your mobility or the pace of your recovery. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend additional rehabilitation programs such as vocational therapy or support groups.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s an ultimate list of common queries along with answers related to Orthopedic Surgery.


Is Orthopedic Surgery painful?

While there may be some discomfort after surgery, your doctor will provide you with pain management options to help minimise your pain during the recovery process.

Can I still participate in sports after Orthopedic Surgery?

It depends on the type of surgery and the individual patient. Your doctor will provide specific instructions on when it is safe to return to sports and other physical activities.

What are the risks of Orthopedic Surgery?

As with any surgery, there are risks involved, including infection, bleeding, and adverse reactions to anaesthesia. However, these risks can be minimised by carefully following your doctor's instructions and taking necessary precautions before and after surgery.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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