Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at Willowbrook
Frequently Asked Questions
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- What is arthroscopy?
- What alternatives to traditional open surgery do I have?
- What is joint resurfacing, or partial joint replacement?
- When is total joint replacement recommended?
- What are PRP procedures?
- How quickly can sports be resumed following an ACL repair?
- How quickly can sports be resumed following a rotator cuff repair?
Q. What is arthroscopy?
A. Arthroscopic procedures are less invasive surgical procedures, which entail the use of a small scope. This requires a much smaller incision than traditional open surgery. The scope features a small lens and fiber optic lighting system, which projects a large, illuminated image of your joint onto a monitor in the operating room. The arthroscope allows your physician to clearly view inside the joint, which is inflated with pressurized water.
First used as a diagnostic tool, arthroscopic procedures are now frequently used to treat many common injuries affecting the knee, elbow and shoulder joints. Usually performed as an outpatient procedure, arthroscopic surgery helps reduce swelling and bruising and promotes a more rapid recovery.
Q. What alternatives to traditional open surgery do I have?
A. Today many common as well as complex injuries and conditions are being treated with less invasive procedures. Known as minimally invasive surgery (MIS), these procedures are reducing the need for large incisions often associated with open surgery – reducing risk of infection and promoting a more rapid recovery.
Smaller, refined instruments combined with advanced technology and enhanced viewing fields are helping surgeons treat the affected area with minimal disruption to surrounding nerves and other soft tissue. Minimally invasive procedures include arthroscopic, endoscopic, laparoscopic and robotic procedures.
Q. What is joint resurfacing, or partial joint replacement?
A. Joint resurfacing or partial joint replacement addresses only the damaged area of the joint rather than completely replacing the joint with a total joint prosthesis. Some of the greatest strides in partial joint replacement systems are seen in the advanced biocompatible, and gender specific prosthetics available for the hand, wrist, ankle and knee.
Partial knee resurfacing (PKR) is one such procedure which uses a much smaller implant that more naturally mimics knee movement. A Unicompartmental (Uni) implant is used when only one condyle of the knee is damaged, and a Patellofemoral implant is available for only the affected surfaces of the patella and patella contact region on the femur. Your physician can tell you about the latest procedures available to preserve long term joint function.
Q. When is total joint replacement recommended?
A. A total joint replacement, also known as total joint arthroplasty, is recommended when there is severe damage to the majority of the joint, resulting in chronic pain and loss of joint function. This often occurs as a result of osteoarthritis and/or rheumatoid arthritis. Total joint replacement systems today are increasingly mimicking the natural movement of joints and present a good option when joint pain makes everyday activities more difficult.
Today prosthetic materials and shapes are designed to promote comfortable, long term joint function. Total joint replacement helps to preserve natural range of motion and is an alternative to arthrodesis, or joint fusion.
Q. What are PRP procedures?
A. PRP procedures are surgical procedures which utilize platelet rich plasma (PRP) in order to stimulate more rapid healing. Platelet rich plasma contains bioactive proteins and growth factors believed to more efficiently manage cells involved in tissue regeneration. While used for many years in bone grafting procedures and in order to promote wound healing, PRP procedures are increasingly used to treat such common conditions as tennis elbow and golfer´s elbow.
Q. How quickly can sports be resumed following an ACL repair?
A. Resumption of sports following a repair to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) depends on the severity of the injury and the type of procedure performed. Though immediate movement is encouraged even following an ACL reconstruction, in order to reduce stiffness and promote more rapid healing of the joint, full resumption of sports may take up to six to eight months. A progressive rehabilitative program designed specific to your needs will chart a rapid path back to daily activity and sports.
Q. How quickly can sports be resumed following a rotator cuff repair?
A. While an outpatient procedure, recovery and resumption of daily activity and sports following a rotator cuff repair depends on the severity of the tear and strength of the repair. Following the rehabilitative program is key. Beginning with exercises focusing on passive motion, the rotator cuff rehabilitation program builds to active motion and then strengthening exercises – generally allowing full resumption of sports and daily activity in four to six months.