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Partial Meniscectomy: Everything You Need to Know 

Have you been experiencing knee pain, locking, or a feeling that your knee might give way? It could be a meniscus tear. Your meniscus, a C-shaped piece of cartilage in your knee, plays a crucial role in shock absorption and stability. 

Sometimes, injuries or wear and tear can damage this essential structure. In certain cases, a partial meniscectomy may be a solution to get you back on your feet.

Learn more about partial meniscectomy and if this procedure could be the answer to your knee problems.

What is a partial meniscectomy?

Your knee joint contains two menisci – the medial meniscus on the inside and the lateral meniscus on the outside. These act as cushions between your thigh bone (femur) and shinbone (tibia). 

A partial meniscectomy is a surgical procedure where a small portion of the damaged meniscus is removed. This is done arthroscopically, using tiny incisions and specialized surgical tools.

The key difference from a full meniscectomy is that in a partial procedure, surgeons aim to preserve as much healthy meniscus tissue as possible. This is important because the meniscus plays a crucial role in knee health.

Why do you need a partial meniscectomy?

Not all meniscus tears require surgery. However, a partial meniscectomy might be recommended if:

  • Tear type: Certain types of tears, like complex or bucket-handle tears, may not heal on their own.
  • Symptoms: You have persistent pain, swelling, locking, catching, or instability in the knee despite trying conservative treatment.
  • Conservative treatment fails: Rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE), physical therapy, and pain medication haven't provided adequate relief.

The goal of a partial meniscectomy is to remove the torn and unstable part of the meniscus to alleviate pain and improve the patient’s normal range of movement.

This procedure also aims to preserve as much of the meniscus as possible, which can delay the development of osteoarthritis in the knee.

How is the procedure performed?

A partial meniscectomy is generally performed as an outpatient procedure under general or regional anesthesia. Here's what you can expect:

  1. Preparation

You'll lie on your back on the operating table with your knee slightly bent. The surgical area is cleaned and sterilized to prevent infection.

  1. Arthroscopic surgery

The surgeon makes two or three very small incisions around your knee. Next, a narrow tube with a tiny camera (arthroscope) is inserted into one of the incisions, transmitting images of the inside of your knee to a monitor.

A sterile fluid is pumped into the joint to expand the knee for better visualization and to flush out debris. The surgeon will then carefully examine the meniscus to identify the extent of the tear.

  1. Torn meniscus removal

Through the other incisions, the surgeon introduces specialized surgical tools, including:

  • Probes: To assess the meniscus and tear pattern
  • Graspers and Scissors: To grasp and trim the unstable or torn portions of the meniscus.
  • Shavers: To smooth the edges of the remaining meniscus and remove any loose fragments.

The surgeon aims to preserve as much healthy meniscus tissue as possible to maintain knee function and stability.

  1. Incision closure

The arthroscope and surgical instruments are carefully removed. The incisions are closed with small stitches or adhesive strips. Lastly, a bandage is then applied to the knee.

A partial meniscectomy typically takes under an hour. In most cases, you'll be able to go home the same day of your surgery.

What is the recovery process after a partial meniscectomy?

Here's a breakdown of the recovery process after a partial meniscectomy, including immediate care, physical therapy, and a general timeline:

Immediately after surgery

You'll likely go home the same day. You may need crutches or a brace initially for support. Keep the leg elevated and apply ice to manage pain and swelling.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is vital. It focuses on regaining range of motion, strengthening the muscles around your knee, and gradually returning to activities.

Recovery timeline

While individual recovery varies, here's a general timeline:

  • First few days: Manage pain and swelling and care for incisions. You might use crutches or a brace.
  • 1-2 weeks: Begin physical therapy, walking comfortably, and performing light daily activities.
  • 3-6 weeks: Continue physical therapy with increasing exercise intensity and a gradual return to regular activities.
  • Several months: Most people achieve full recovery by 3-6 months, including regaining strength and returning to sports or high-impact activities.

Follow-up appointments

It’s important to stay in touch with your surgeon, physical therapist, and healthcare team throughout the recovery process. 

During follow-up appointments, they will evaluate and give you instructions on when it’s safe to return to specific activities. 

Additionally, your healthcare team will provide guidance on lifestyle adjustments you may need to make. This may include maintaining a healthy weight and doing low-impact exercises to protect your knee in the long run. 

What are the long-term outcomes after a partial meniscectomy?

A partial meniscectomy is a highly successful procedure for many. It offers significant pain relief and improved knee function.  However, it's important to be aware of a few things:

  • Increased arthritis risk: While the risk is small, removing a part of the meniscus increases your chances of developing osteoarthritis in the future.
  • Lifestyle modifications: You might need to modify high-impact activities to protect your knee joint long-term.

Restore Your Mobility and Comfort at Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek

If you're facing knee pain that hasn't responded to conservative treatment, and your doctor has recommended a partial meniscectomy, the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek can offer you the highest level of surgical care paired with patient-focused support.

At the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek, we are committed to leading the way in orthopedic excellence. By combining cutting-edge technology with a dedication to patient well-being, we strive to help you get back to doing the things you love pain-free.

Schedule an appointment with the best Panther Creek orthopedics. For more information, contact our outpatient orthopedic surgery center at 919-582-3050.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

Joint replacement surgery is a significant decision that can profoundly impact your quality of life. Whether you're struggling with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or another condition affecting your joints, knowing the right time for surgery is crucial. 

In this blog post, we will discuss joint replacement surgery一what it is, its benefits, and the various factors to consider when determining if it's right for you.

What is joint replacement surgery?

Joint replacement surgery, or arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which a damaged or diseased joint is replaced with an artificial implant or prosthesis. This procedure is commonly performed to alleviate pain, improve joint function, and restore mobility in individuals with severe joint conditions.

During joint replacement surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged or worn-out components of the joint, including the cartilage and bone, and replaces them with prosthetic components made of metal, plastic, or ceramic materials. 

The prosthetic components mimic the natural structure and function of the joint, allowing for smooth movement and reduced friction.

Joint replacement surgery can be performed on various joints in the body, including the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, and ankle.

Who are the ideal candidates for joint replacement surgery?

Ideal candidates for joint replacement surgery typically exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Persistent joint pain: Candidates experience chronic joint pain that is not adequately controlled with conservative treatments.
  • Limited mobility: Joint dysfunction resulting from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or joint trauma that restricts mobility.
  • Joint damage: Radiographic imaging, such as X-rays or MRIs, reveals significant joint damage, including cartilage loss, bone-on-bone contact, joint deformity, or erosion of joint surfaces.
  • Overall health: Candidates are in reasonably good overall health and free from medical conditions that could increase the risk of surgery or complicate the recovery process.

When is the right time for a joint replacement surgery?

Consulting with a knowledgeable orthopedic doctor is crucial when contemplating joint replacement surgery. Orthopedic surgeons specialize in diagnosing and treating joint conditions, offering expert guidance on surgical options.

An orthopedic specialist will thoroughly assess patients regarding their symptoms, medical history, and the severity of their joint condition. From these, they will inform you whether you need to undergo joint replacement surgery.

During the consultation, ask your doctor about the anticipated benefits and risks of joint replacement surgery. What potential complications are associated with the procedure, and how can they be mitigated? Your doctor can also recommend additional tests, such as blood work and imaging studies, to assess your overall health and suitability for surgery.

What are the potential benefits of joint replacement surgery?

Joint replacement surgery offers numerous potential benefits for individuals suffering from chronic joint pain and dysfunction. Some of the key benefits include:

  1. Pain relief

One of the primary goals of joint replacement surgery is to alleviate joint pain and discomfort. By replacing damaged or worn-out joint surfaces with prosthetic components, surgery can significantly reduce or eliminate persistent joint pain, allowing patients to enjoy improved comfort and mobility.

  1. Improved joint function

Joint replacement surgery restores the normal structure and function of the affected joint, enabling smoother movement and increased range of motion.

  1. Increased mobility

Following joint replacement surgery, many patients experience enhanced mobility and flexibility, allowing them to move more freely and participate in activities they may have previously avoided due to pain.

  1. Enhanced quality of life

Chronic joint pain and disability can have a significant impact on overall quality of life, affecting work, social relationships, and emotional well-being. 

Fortunately, joint replacement surgery can greatly enhance the quality of life and restore independence by relieving pain, improving function, and restoring mobility.

  1. Reduction in medication dependency

Individuals with chronic joint pain often rely on pain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or opioids to manage symptoms.

Following successful joint replacement surgery, many patients experience a reduction in medication dependency as pain levels decrease and function improves.

  1. Long-term durability

Advances in surgical techniques and prosthetic materials have led to increased durability and longevity of joint replacements. 

Modern implants are designed to withstand the demands of daily activities and provide lasting results, allowing patients to enjoy the benefits of surgery for many years.

  1. Return to an active lifestyle.

Joint replacement surgery enables many patients to return to an active lifestyle, participating in sports, exercise, and recreational activities without pain or limitations. This can have a positive impact on physical health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life.

Are there risks to joint replacement surgery?

Before proceeding with joint replacement surgery, it's essential to weigh the potential benefits against the risks. While surgery can alleviate pain, improve joint function, and enhance quality of life, it also carries inherent risks and complications. Common risks include:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Implant failure
  • Nerve damage

However, the benefits of joint replacement surgery often outweigh the risks, particularly for individuals with severe joint pain and limited mobility. 

Studies have shown that joint replacement surgery can significantly reduce pain, increase joint range of motion, and enhance overall well-being. 

Discussing your concerns with your healthcare team can help you make an informed decision based on your individual circumstances.

UNC Orthopedics Panther Creek – Your Trusted Orthopedic Care Provider

Determining the right time for joint replacement surgery involves careful consideration with the help of the best outpatient orthopedic clinic—Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek.

The Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek stands at the forefront of orthopedic excellence and is recognized as one of the leading surgery centers in the state. 

Our reputation for exceptional patient outcomes, innovative treatments, and compassionate care has earned us the trust and respect of patients and referring physicians alike.

With our unwavering commitment to patient safety, educational excellence, and leadership in orthopedic surgery, you can trust that you are in the best possible hands with us.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

Undergoing surgery is a significant event in anyone's life, often accompanied by a period of recovery crucial for restoring health and function. While medical interventions play a vital role in the healing process, the impact of diet on post-surgery recovery is often underestimated. 

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the intricate relationship between diet and healing after surgery, shedding light on the importance of nutrition in facilitating a smooth recovery journey.

How does diet influence post-surgery healing?

Dietary choices can significantly influence the body's ability to heal after surgery. During the recovery process, the body requires ample nutrients to repair tissues, combat inflammation, and bolster the immune system. Nutrition plays a role in the healing process in various ways, such as:

  • Optimal nutrition provides the essential building blocks necessary for cellular regeneration.
  • Adequate protein intake can promote wound healing, reduce the risk of infection, and support overall recovery.
  • Vitamins and minerals are crucial for wound closure, tissue repair, bone health, and repair of skeletal tissues.
  • Antioxidants from your diet help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by inflammation and free radicals. 
  • A balanced diet reduces the risk of complications during the healing process.

A balanced diet can provide bodies with the essential nutrients needed to support the healing process, reduce the risk of complications, and expedite recovery following surgery. 

Prioritizing nutrition during recovery is crucial for optimizing outcomes and promoting overall health and well-being.

What foods should be included in a post-surgery recovery diet?

Here are some key foods to incorporate into your diet during the recovery period:

  1. Lean protein sources

Protein is essential for tissue repair, muscle regeneration, and immune function, making it crucial for supporting the healing process. So, you should incorporate lean protein sources, such as chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, legumes, and lean cuts of beef or pork.

  1. Colorful fruits and vegetables

Aim to include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet to provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Opt for the following:

  • Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale
  • Vibrant berries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Bell peppers
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  1. Whole grains

Choose whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, whole wheat bread, and pasta to provide complex carbohydrates for sustained energy and fiber for digestive health. Whole grains also contain essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to overall health and well-being.

  1. Healthy fats

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, trout, and sardines, also possess anti-inflammatory properties that can aid in the healing process. 

Include sources of healthy fats in your diet, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats provide essential fatty acids that support cellular membrane integrity, reduce inflammation, and promote heart health. 

  1. Dairy or dairy alternatives

Incorporate dairy products or dairy alternatives fortified with calcium and vitamin D, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified plant-based milk. These foods support bone health and calcium absorption, which is crucial for healing skeletal tissues and preventing osteoporosis.

  1. Hydration sources

Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and support the body's healing processes. Opt for water, herbal teas, and electrolyte-rich beverages to maintain hydration levels and facilitate nutrient transport to cells. 

Adequate hydration is essential for promoting circulation, flushing out toxins, and preventing complications during recovery.

  1. Probiotic-rich foods

Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which is essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function.

Incorporate probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha into your diet to support gut health and immune function.

Are there foods that can hinder the healing process?

While certain foods can promote healing, others may impede the recovery process. Highly processed foods, sugary snacks, and refined carbohydrates can exacerbate inflammation and compromise immune function, delaying healing.

Moreover, alcohol and caffeine consumption should be minimized during the recovery period, as they can interfere with wound healing and exacerbate post-operative complications.

What are the best meal planning tips for post-surgery recovery?

Provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs to facilitate healing and promote overall well-being. Follow these meal-planning tips to enhance post-surgery recovery:

  • Prioritize nutrient-dense foods: Focus on including nutrient-dense foods in your meals to maximize your intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. 
  • Plan balanced meals: Aim to create balanced meals that include a combination of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Plan for snacks: Incorporate nutrient-rich snacks into your meal plan to fuel your body throughout the day. Options include Greek yogurt with berries, nuts, seeds, and fruit with nut butter.
  • Stay hydrated: Remember to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated and support the healing process. Aim to drink at least 8-10 cups of water per day.
  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body's cues and adjust your meal plan accordingly. If you're experiencing nausea, vomiting, or other digestive issues post-surgery, opt for lighter, easier-to-digest foods until your symptoms improve.

UNC Orthopedics and Panther Creek - Your Path to Optimal Orthopedic Care

Recovery is a critical phase of the orthopedic treatment process, and at Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek, we are committed to supporting our patients throughout their recovery journey.

At Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek, we pride ourselves on being a premier provider of orthopedic care, dedicated to guiding patients through every step of their journey from diagnosis to post-surgery recovery. 

With a commitment to excellence and personalized patient care, we strive to ensure that each individual receives the highest quality orthopedic treatment tailored to their unique needs.

From our compassionate approach to patient care to our commitment to achieving optimal outcomes, we are dedicated to helping you live life to the fullest.

Contact our outpatient orthopedic clinic to learn more.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

Orthopedic surgery centers are often perceived as facilities solely dedicated to surgical interventions for musculoskeletal issues. However, this misconception overlooks the comprehensive range of services these centers offer.

While surgical interventions are indeed a crucial aspect of their services, these centers offer much more than just operations. From diagnostics to rehabilitation, orthopedic surgery centers adopt a multidisciplinary approach to address various musculoskeletal conditions.

What services do orthopedic surgery centers offer beyond surgery?

Orthopedic surgery centers are often associated primarily with surgical interventions. However, these centers offer a comprehensive range of services to address musculoskeletal issues through various modalities.

Diagnostic services

Orthopedic surgery centers serve as hubs for diagnosing various musculoskeletal issues. Through advanced imaging techniques such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, specialists can accurately assess the underlying causes of patients' symptoms. 

Additionally, diagnostic tests like bone density scans help identify conditions such as osteoporosis. By utilizing state-of-the-art technology, orthopedic centers ensure precise and timely diagnoses, laying the foundation for effective treatment plans.

Comprehensive treatment modalities

Contrary to popular belief, surgery is not always the first line of treatment for musculoskeletal conditions. Orthopedic surgery centers offer a variety of non-surgical treatment options tailored to address patients' specific needs and preferences. These may include:

  1. Medication management

Orthopedic specialists may prescribe anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, or disease-modifying drugs to manage symptoms and slow disease progression.

  1. Physical therapy

Physical therapy plays a pivotal role in rehabilitation and recovery. Orthopedic surgery centers employ skilled physical therapists who develop personalized exercise regimens and manual techniques to improve strength, flexibility, and mobility.

  1. Injections

Injections like corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid can provide targeted relief for conditions like osteoarthritis or tendonitis, reducing inflammation and alleviating pain.

By offering these conservative treatment modalities, orthopedic surgery centers aim to optimize patient outcomes while minimizing the need for surgical intervention whenever possible.

Rehabilitation and physical therapy

Recovery doesn't end with surgery; it's an ongoing process that often requires rehabilitation and physical therapy. Orthopedic surgery centers recognize the importance of post-operative care and offer comprehensive rehabilitation programs to facilitate patients' recovery. 

Experienced physical therapists guide patients through targeted exercises and techniques to restore strength, flexibility, and range of motion. 

Whether recovering from joint replacement surgery or a sports injury, rehabilitation services play a crucial role in helping patients regain function and return to their daily activities.

Collaboration for comprehensive care

Orthopedic surgery centers operate on a multidisciplinary model, fostering collaboration among various healthcare professionals to deliver holistic care. 

Orthopedic surgeons collaborate with primary care physicians, physical therapists, pain management specialists, and others to develop integrated treatment plans that address all aspects of patients' orthopedic health. 

This collaborative approach ensures that patients receive comprehensive care that considers not only their musculoskeletal issues but also any underlying medical conditions, lifestyle factors, or psychosocial needs that may impact their well-being.

How to choose the best orthopedic surgery center?

Choosing the best orthopedic surgery center is crucial for receiving optimal care and achieving the best possible outcomes. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting an orthopedic surgery center:

  1. Reputation and expertise

Research the reputation and expertise of the orthopedic surgery center and its staff. Look for centers with board-certified orthopedic surgeons with extensive experience and specialized expertise in treating your specific condition or procedure. Read patient reviews and testimonials to gauge the quality of care and patient satisfaction.

  1. Specialized services

Look for centers that provide comprehensive care, including diagnostics, non-surgical treatment options, surgical interventions, and rehabilitation services. Choose a center that offers the specific treatments and procedures you need for your condition.

  1. Advanced technology and facilities

Assess the technology and facilities available at the orthopedic surgery center. Look for centers equipped with state-of-the-art imaging technologies, surgical equipment, and rehabilitation facilities. 

Advanced technology can enhance the accuracy of diagnoses, improve surgical outcomes, and facilitate optimal recovery.

  1. Multidisciplinary team

Evaluate the composition of the orthopedic surgery center's multidisciplinary team. An interdisciplinary approach ensures comprehensive care and personalized treatment plans tailored to your individual needs.

  1. Accreditation and certifications

Check if the orthopedic surgery center is accredited by reputable organizations such as The Joint Commission or has received certifications from professional associations. 

Accreditation and certifications indicate that the center meets high quality and safety standards in patient care and healthcare delivery.

  1. Location and accessibility

Consider the location and accessibility of the orthopedic surgery center. Choose a center that is conveniently located and easily accessible from your home or workplace. 

Accessibility factors such as parking facilities, public transportation options, and proximity to major highways can impact your overall experience and convenience.

  1. Insurance coverage and financial considerations

Review your insurance coverage and financial considerations when selecting an orthopedic surgery center. Check if the center accepts your insurance plan and inquire about any out-of-pocket expenses or payment options. 

Understand the costs associated with your treatment plan, including consultations, procedures, and rehabilitation services.

Where to find the best outpatient orthopedic surgery center?

Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek stands at the forefront of orthopedic excellence in the state. With a reputation built on trust, integrity, and exceptional outcomes, we are proud to be recognized as leaders in orthopedic surgery and patient care. 

Rest assured that you are in safe hands at Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek. Our team of experienced medical professionals is dedicated to delivering the highest standard of care and ensuring your safety and comfort every step of the way.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

Joint surgery is a transformative step towards reclaiming mobility and improving the quality of life. Often, the focus is primarily on exercise, but the equal importance of rest in the recovery process must be balanced. 

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the crucial role that rest plays in post-joint surgery rehabilitation, highlighting why it's just as important as exercise.

How does joint surgery impact the body?

Joint surgery can significantly impact the body, and the extent of this impact depends on the type of surgery, the specific joint involved, and the individual's overall health.

After joint surgery, the body undergoes significant trauma, which the patient can experience through the following post-surgical symptoms:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Inflammation or swelling
  • Limited range of motion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Temporarily impaired functionality
  • Emotional stress

Fortunately, all of these are normal and only temporary. The patient’s condition will improve gradually with the right blend of rest, rehabilitation, and long-term lifestyle adjustments. 

Why is rest important after joint surgery?

While exercise is essential for rebuilding strength and flexibility, the role of rest in this process is frequently underestimated. 

Rest plays a fundamental role in the overall recovery process and is crucial after joint surgery for several reasons:

  1. Facilitates healing

Rest provides the necessary time for the body to focus on repairing and healing the tissues affected during surgery. This includes the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other structures surrounding the joint.

Furthermore, rest helps control and reduce excessive inflammation, preventing complications such as increased pain, swelling, and delayed healing.

  1. Minimizes strain on the joint

Rest is essential to protect the surgically repaired joint from unnecessary strain and stress. Overexertion or excessive movement can hinder the healing process and potentially lead to complications or damage to the surgical site.

  1. Prevents complications

Adequate rest minimizes the risk of complications such as infections, wound dehiscence, or issues related to excessive strain on the joint. Following postoperative rest guidelines helps create an optimal environment for healing.

  1. Supports pain management

Rest is an integral part of pain management after joint surgery. Individuals can minimize pain and discomfort by avoiding unnecessary movement and strain, promoting a more comfortable recovery.

  1. Prevents muscle atrophy

Lack of movement, especially in weight-bearing joints, can lead to muscle atrophy. Rest is balanced with prescribed rehabilitation exercises to prevent muscle wasting while allowing for controlled and supervised strengthening.

  1. Facilitates early rehabilitation

Rest serves as the foundation for the initial phase of recovery, allowing the body to adapt to the changes brought about by surgery. 

As the recovery progresses, rest is gradually complemented by targeted rehabilitation exercises to enhance joint function.

Why is exercise essential after joint surgery?

While rest forms the foundation, exercise complements recovery by building strength and flexibility. Engaging in tailored exercises helps prevent muscle atrophy, enhances joint mobility, and promotes circulation. 

Additionally, active participation in rehabilitation exercises also fosters a positive mindset, which is crucial for navigating the challenges of recovery.

However, it's vital to strike a balance. Too much exercise can lead to overexertion, exacerbating pain and delaying healing. Therefore, a gradual and supervised exercise regimen, initiated under professional guidance, ensures a safe and effective recovery.

How to find the balance between rest and exercise post-joint surgery?

Achieving the optimal balance between rest and exercise is a delicate but essential task. Overexertion can impede healing, while inadequate activity may result in stiffness and reduced functionality. 

Transitioning from the initial rest phase to a more active routine should be gradual, with constant monitoring of the body's response. Here are some practical steps to help achieve the optimal equilibrium:

  1. Follow professional guidance

Engage in open and regular communication with your healthcare team, including the surgeon, physical therapist, and rehabilitation specialists. They will provide personalized guidance based on your specific surgery, health status, and progress.

  1. Know your limits

Understand the limitations imposed by the surgery. Different procedures have varying recovery timelines and restrictions. Be aware of weight-bearing limitations, range of motion restrictions, and any specific precautions related to your surgery.

  1. Gradual progression

Initiate exercise gradually and under professional supervision. Begin with simple, low-impact movements within the allowed range of motion. This gradual approach minimizes the risk of overexertion and promotes a safe recovery.

  1. Listen to your body.

Listen to your body's signals. If you experience pain, swelling, or discomfort during or after an exercise, it may be an indication to modify the activity or provide more time for rest. Consult with your healthcare team if you have concerns.

  1. Customized exercise plan

Work with your physical therapist and orthopedic specialist to develop a customized exercise plan that aligns with your specific needs and goals. The plan should evolve as you progress in your recovery, ensuring a balance between challenging exercises and sufficient rest.

  1. Prioritize sleep and nutrition.

Ensure adequate sleep and proper nutrition. Quality rest and a well-balanced diet contribute significantly to the recovery process. These factors play a role in supporting the body's ability to heal and respond positively to exercise.

  1. Regular follow-ups

Schedule regular follow-ups with your healthcare team to assess your progress. Adjustments to your exercise plan or rest periods may be necessary based on your recovery trajectory.

Expert advice and a personalized recovery plan play a pivotal role in finding this sweet spot. Physical therapists and healthcare professionals guide individuals through the process, adjusting the intensity and type of exercises based on the individual's progress.

Where to find the best outpatient orthopedic clinic?

At the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek, we redefine post-surgery recovery, setting the gold standard in orthopedic care that extends far beyond the operating room.

Our team comprises skilled orthopedic surgeons renowned for their expertise. Coupled with our commitment to personalized care, we ensure each patient receives the attention and precision they deserve.

UNC Orthopedics in Panther Creek is committed to excellence, personalized attention, and comprehensive post-surgery rehabilitation, making us the top choice for individuals seeking unparalleled orthopedic care.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that has gained prominence for its effectiveness in diagnosing and treating various ankle conditions. 

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the intricacies of ankle arthroscopy, covering everything from the procedure itself to recovery, rehabilitation, and the benefits of this evolving field.

What is ankle arthroscopy?

Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to diagnose and treat various conditions affecting the ankle joint. 

This surgical technique involves using an arthroscope一a thin, flexible tube with a light and a camera on the end. The arthroscope is inserted through small incisions around the ankle, allowing the surgeon to visualize the interior of the joint on a monitor in real time.

During ankle arthroscopy, the surgeon can examine the cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and other structures within the ankle joint. This diagnostic capability makes ankle arthroscopy particularly useful in identifying the cause of unexplained ankle pain, swelling, or limited range of motion.

Who are the ideal candidates for ankle arthroscopy?

The ideal candidates for ankle arthroscopy are individuals who experience persistent ankle pain, swelling, or limited range of motion and whose symptoms have not responded to conservative, non-surgical treatments.

An orthopedic surgeon may also recommend ankle arthroscopy for patients experiencing the following:

Ankle arthroscopy is a versatile surgical procedure performed to diagnose and treat various conditions affecting the ankle joint.

Patients considering ankle arthroscopy should engage in thorough discussions with their orthopedic surgeon or healthcare professional to assess their specific situation, understand the potential benefits and risks, and explore alternative treatment options.

How is ankle arthroscopy performed?

Before the procedure begins, the patient is administered anesthesia to ensure they are comfortable and pain-free during the surgery. The type of anesthesia used (general or local) depends on the specific case and the surgeon's preference. Then here’s what typically happens during the procedure:

  • The surgeon makes small incisions around the ankle joint. These incisions are typically less than half an inch in size and serve as access points for the arthroscope and other surgical instruments.
  • An arthroscope is inserted through one of the incisions. The camera sends live images of the internal structures of the ankle joint to a monitor, allowing the surgeon to visualize the area in detail.
  • Using the arthroscope, the surgeon carefully examines the cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and other structures within the ankle joint. This visual inspection helps identify abnormalities like tears, impingements, or loose bodies.
  • Depending on the findings during the inspection, the surgeon may make additional small incisions to introduce specialized surgical instruments. These instruments are used to perform various procedures, such as removing damaged tissue, repairing ligaments, or addressing other specific conditions.
  • After completing the necessary procedures, the surgeon removes the instruments and arthroscope, closing the small incisions. In many cases, stitches or small adhesive strips are used to close the incisions.

What can you expect during the recovery period?

The recovery period after ankle arthroscopy is a critical phase in the overall treatment process. While individual experiences may vary based on the specific procedure performed and the patient's unique circumstances, here are general expectations during the recovery period:

  1. Immediate postoperative period

After ankle arthroscopy, patients are typically monitored in a recovery area until they are fully awake and alert. In some cases, patients may be allowed to go home on the same day, while others may require a short hospital stay.

  1. Weight-bearing and ambulation

The ability to bear weight on the affected ankle varies depending on the nature of the procedure. Some patients may be allowed to bear weight immediately, while others may use crutches or a protective boot for a specified period. 

  1. Pain management

Pain and discomfort are common after any surgical procedure, but they are typically less pronounced with ankle arthroscopy than open surgery. 

Pain management may involve prescribed medications, and patients are advised to follow the recommended dosages and communicate any concerns to their healthcare provider.

  1. Rehabilitation and physical therapy

Rehabilitation and physical therapy play a crucial role in the recovery process. The surgeon or physical therapist will prescribe exercises to improve the range of motion, strength, and flexibility in the ankle. 

  1. Return to normal activities.

The timeline for returning to normal activities varies but is generally faster than with open surgery. Patients may gradually resume activities such as walking, driving, and working based on their surgeon's recommendations.

While recovering, patients may be advised to avoid activities that could strain the ankle joint. This may include high-impact sports, strenuous exercise, or activities that put excessive stress on the ankle.

  1. Follow-up appointments

Patients will have follow-up appointments with their surgeon to monitor progress, remove stitches or staples, and assess the overall healing process. The frequency of these appointments varies depending on the individual case.

What are the benefits of a minimally invasive approach?

The minimally invasive approach of ankle arthroscopy offers several advantages over traditional open surgery, such as:

Smaller incisions

One of the primary benefits is the use of small incisions, typically less than half an inch in size. This contrasts with larger incisions required in open surgery. Smaller incisions lead to reduced trauma to surrounding tissues, less scarring, and a more aesthetically pleasing result.

Reduced postoperative pain

Smaller incisions and less tissue disruption generally result in reduced postoperative pain. Patients undergoing ankle arthroscopy often experience less discomfort in the days and weeks following the procedure than those undergoing traditional open surgery.

Faster recovery times

Minimally invasive techniques typically lead to faster recovery times. Patients undergoing ankle arthroscopy often experience an earlier return to weight-bearing activities and daily routines compared to individuals undergoing open surgery. 

This is particularly advantageous for maintaining overall mobility and reducing the impact on daily life.

Lower risk of infection

The risk of infection is minimized with ankle arthroscopy due to the smaller incisions and reduced exposure of internal structures to external contaminants. Lower infection rates contribute to a safer surgical experience.

Quicker return to normal activities

The combination of reduced postoperative pain, faster recovery times, and smaller incisions often allows patients to return to normal activities sooner. This is advantageous for maintaining overall functionality and quality of life.

Where to find the best outpatient orthopedic surgery center?

At Panther Creek Orthopedics, your well-being is our top priority. As one of the leading orthopedic surgery centers in the state, we are committed to delivering unparalleled patient care, fostering understanding through education, and maintaining the highest standards of excellence.

Choose the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek for orthopedic care that exceeds expectations. We are not just a surgery center; we are your trusted partner on the path to recovery. 

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

Embarking on an orthopedic surgery journey can be both daunting and transformative. But asking the right questions before and after your surgery may make the journey a little more comfortable.

By actively participating in your healthcare decisions, you not only gain clarity but also play a pivotal role in your recovery. Let's explore the essential questions to guide you through this critical phase.

Before surgery: Preparing for success

Before undergoing orthopedic surgery, it's crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the procedure, the surgeon's expertise, potential risks, and the postoperative plan. Here are vital questions to ask your orthopedic surgeon:

  • What does the orthopedic procedure entail?

Understanding the 'why' behind the recommended surgery empowers you to make an informed choice. Ask your surgeon to explain the procedure in layman's terms and why it is the recommended course of action.

  • Are there alternative treatments or surgical approaches?

Inquire about alternative treatment options or different surgical approaches. Understanding the available choices allows you to make a more informed decision about your healthcare.

  • What is your experience in performing this type of surgery?

Transitioning from understanding the procedure, shift your focus to the person wielding the scalpel. Inquire about your surgeon's experience in performing the specific procedure. 

Ask about their credentials and success rates. An experienced surgeon with a successful track record can instill confidence and contribute significantly to a positive surgical outcome.

  • What are the potential risks and complications?

Every surgical journey comes with its share of risks. Actively engage with your surgeon to comprehend the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure. 

What measures are in place to manage or mitigate these risks? This open dialogue not only prepares you mentally but also establishes trust between you and your healthcare team.

  • How can I prepare for the surgery?

Knowing how to prepare for surgery can contribute to a smoother process. Ask about preoperative instructions, including fasting requirements, medications, and any necessary lifestyle adjustments.

  • What should I expect during the recovery period?

Asking your orthopedic surgeon about the recovery period is crucial for planning and understanding what to expect after surgery. Ask your surgeon about your recovery timeline, including how long you might need off work and when you can resume regular activities.

Furthermore, it’s also important to know about home preparations that can aid your recovery, such as changes in sleeping situations or installing temporary supportive devices.  

  • What postoperative care will I require?

Inquire about the postoperative care plan. This may include enrolling in a physical therapy class or specific rehabilitation programs. Understanding and adhering to the postoperative care plan is crucial for a successful recovery.

During surgery: Staying informed

Surgery is dynamic, and unexpected findings may arise. Ask your surgeon to provide a general overview of what you can expect during the surgery. This might include details about anesthesia, the anticipated duration of the procedure, and any key steps involved. 

Direct communication with your orthopedic surgeon may be limited during the actual surgery due to the medical setting. 

However, if there is an opportunity for pre-surgical consultation or if you have concerns on the day of the surgery, here are some questions to ask:

  • Can you briefly review the surgical plan with me?

Before the surgery begins, ask your surgeon for a brief overview of the surgical plan. This can help clarify any last-minute concerns and ensure that you and the surgical team are on the same page regarding the procedure.

  • What should I expect during the surgery?

Ask your surgeon to provide a general overview of what you can expect during the surgery. This might include details about anesthesia, the anticipated duration of the procedure, and any key steps involved.

  • How will I be monitored during the surgery?

Inquire about the monitoring equipment and procedures in place during the surgery. Understanding how your vital signs will be tracked can provide reassurance about the safety measures in the operating room.

  • What happens if unexpected issues arise during the surgery?

Discuss the surgeon's approach to unforeseen complications. Understanding how unexpected issues will be addressed and what decisions need to be made in real-time helps you mentally prepare for any deviations from the initial plan.

  • What is the expected recovery time in the post-anesthesia care unit?

Understand your anticipated time in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). This information helps your family and loved ones plan for your immediate postoperative care and recovery.

Remember, the nature of surgical procedures often limits direct communication during the operation. Most of these questions are best addressed in pre-surgical consultations or discussions before the day of surgery.

After surgery: Navigating the recovery process

After your surgery, engaging with your surgeon is important to ensure a smooth and successful recovery. Here are key questions to ask during your postoperative consultations:

  • What postoperative care instructions should I follow?

Seek detailed postoperative care instructions. This may include information about wound care, prescribed medications, physical therapy, and any lifestyle adjustments necessary for a successful recovery.

  • When should I start physical therapy?

Discuss the role of physical therapy in your recovery. Inquire about the timing for starting physical therapy sessions and how they will contribute to restoring your strength and mobility.

  • When can I resume normal activities?

Understand when you can gradually resume normal activities such as walking, driving, and returning to work. Clear guidance on these aspects ensures a smooth transition back to your routine.

  • What follow-up appointments are needed and why?

Discuss the schedule for follow-up appointments and their purpose. Regular check-ups allow your surgeon to monitor your progress, address any concerns, and make adjustments to your treatment plan if necessary.

  • What long-term care or monitoring will I need?

Discuss any long-term care or monitoring plans. This may include periodic check-ups, imaging studies, or ongoing physical therapy to ensure sustained recovery and prevent future issues.

Where to find the best outpatient orthopedic clinic in Panther Creek?

At the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek, we stay at the forefront of medical innovation to ensure your surgery is not only safe but also employs the latest and most effective methods.

We assure you of the highest quality care at the hands of our board-certified UNC orthopedics Panther Creek surgeons, who are also leaders in orthopedic surgery. 

Your trust in Panther Creek is the foundation of our commitment to your health and well-being.

Contact us now to learn more!

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

Chronic plantar fasciitis is a common ailment that affects the daily lives of countless individuals. It's characterized by intense pain in the heel and arch of the foot, often making even the simplest activities, like walking, a painful ordeal. 

If you've been struggling with chronic plantar fasciitis, you're not alone. This blog post delves into plantar fasciotomy, how it is performed, and its benefits to individuals with plantar fasciitis. 

What is plantar fasciotomy?

Plantar fasciotomy is a medical intervention aimed at alleviating chronic plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue running along the bottom of the foot, becomes inflamed.

Plantar fasciitis typically causes sharp, stabbing heel pain, especially with the first steps in the morning or after periods of rest. This pain can be quite debilitating and may worsen during prolonged standing or walking.

The procedure aims to alleviate the symptoms of chronic plantar fasciitis, improve mobility, and enhance the patient's overall quality of life.

Who is a good candidate for plantar fasciotomy?

While the decision to undergo plantar fasciotomy should be made in consultation with an orthopedic doctor, a good candidate typically meets the following criteria:

  • Has chronic plantar fasciitis that impairs daily activities.
  • Has plantar fasciitis that has not responded to conservative treatment options.
  • Is in relatively good health with no major medical conditions.
  • Has realistic expectations
  • Has discussed the procedure with an orthopedic specialist.

The decision to undergo plantar fasciotomy should be made after consultation with a doctor and a thorough evaluation of the patient's condition, medical history, and individual circumstances.

How is it performed?

Plantar fasciotomy can be performed using different techniques, depending on the surgeon's preference and the patient's specific needs. Here is an overview of the main methods of performing the procedure:

  1. Open plantar fasciotomy

In this traditional surgical approach, the surgeon incurs the bottom of the foot to access the plantar fascia. The incision is typically made in the area near the heel or the arch.

  1. Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy

Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy is a minimally invasive technique. Instead of a large open incision, the surgeon makes one or more small incisions near the heel or arch of the foot.

A thin, tube-like instrument called an endoscope, equipped with a camera and surgical tools, is inserted through the incision to visualize and operate on the plantar fascia.

This approach aims to minimize scarring, reduce post-operative pain, and speed up the recovery process.

  1. Radiofrequency coblation plantar fasciotomy

This newer technique uses radiofrequency energy to create small lesions in the plantar fascia, which reduces its tension. The surgeon inserts a special probe through a small incision in the skin, and radiofrequency energy is applied to the fascia.

The procedure is minimally invasive and is believed to have the advantage of causing less damage to surrounding tissues.

Regardless of the technique used, the goal of plantar fasciotomy is to release or partially cut the plantar fascia, which reduces tension and inflammation. 

The choice of technique depends on the surgeon's expertise, the patient's condition, and factors such as the extent of the fascia release and the preference for minimally invasive surgery.

Frequently asked questions about plantar fasciotomy surgery

Is there an ideal time for surgery, or should I wait until my condition worsens?

The timing of surgery is a decision to be made in consultation with an orthopedic specialist. It's generally recommended when conservative treatments have failed and the pain significantly impacts your daily life.

How to prepare for a plantar fasciotomy?

Your surgeon will provide specific guidelines for the days leading up to your surgery. This might involve dietary restrictions, medication adjustments, or lifestyle changes to ensure a smooth procedure.

You may also arrange for someone to assist you during the initial days of your recovery, as well as someone to drive you to and from the surgery center.

What to expect right after the surgery?

You will likely wake up in the recovery room with some pain or discomfort. Your foot may be numb, depending on the type of anesthesia used during the surgery. You may also have some bandaging or a surgical dressing around your incision.

Additionally, you'll be advised to keep your foot elevated and avoid putting weight on the operated foot. Crutches or a walker may be used to assist with mobility.

What is the recovery process like?

Here’s a general overview of what you can expect during the recovery process:

  • Your surgeon will guide you on when you can gradually bear weight on the operated foot. This is typically a gradual process, and you'll likely begin with partial weight-bearing.
  • Physical therapy may be recommended to help improve foot strength, flexibility, and mobility. Therapists can guide you through exercises to facilitate your recovery.
  • Continue attending follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor your progress. They may also remove any remaining stitches if necessary.
  • Continue to practice the exercises and foot care recommended by your physical therapist and surgeon to maintain foot health and reduce the risk of recurrence.

How long does it take to return to normal activities after the surgery?

The time it takes to return to normal activities can vary from person to person. Most patients can gradually resume activities within a few months, depending on individual healing and adherence to post-surgery recommendations.

What are the expected outcomes of the surgery?

Plantar fasciotomy is generally effective in reducing heel pain and improving mobility. However, individual results can vary, and it's important to have realistic expectations.

While many patients experience relief from pain after surgery, it may not guarantee a pain-free future. Lifestyle factors and adherence to post-surgery recommendations can influence long-term outcomes.

Are there any potential risks or complications associated with the surgery?

Like any surgical procedure, plantar fasciotomy carries some risks, including infection, nerve damage, or delayed healing. These risks are relatively low, and most patients recover without complications.

Where to find the best outpatient orthopedic clinic?

At the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek, our commitment is to provide you with unparalleled orthopedic care and services. 

We understand that choosing an orthopaedic surgery center is a significant decision, and that’s why we want to assure you that you are in safe, capable hands with our experienced surgeons, state-of-the-art facility, and stringent safety protocols.

Both Raleigh Orthopaedic and Panther Creek take immense pride in being recognized as two of the leading surgery centers in the state. But more than that, we are beyond honored to be known as trusted healthcare providers within our respective communities. 

Your journey to optimal orthopedic health begins here. Contact us now to learn more!

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

Are you suffering from debilitating lower back or hip pain? Has it become a constant companion, restricting your mobility and quality of life? 

If you've explored various treatments and found little relief, sacroiliac joint fusion might be the answer to your prayers. 

This comprehensive guide will delve into this procedure, answering key questions, sharing patient experiences, and providing a roadmap to help you regain mobility.

What is sacroiliac joint fusion?

Sacroiliac joint fusion is a surgical procedure designed to treat chronic pain and dysfunction in the sacroiliac joint, which is located at the base of the spine where the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) and the ilium (part of the pelvis) meet. 

The sacroiliac joint, commonly referred to as the SI joint, plays a crucial role in transmitting forces from your upper body to the legs while providing stability and absorbing shock.

When the SI joint becomes damaged, it can lead to chronic pain, instability, and limited mobility. Sacroiliac joint fusion is a surgical procedure designed to alleviate these issues by stabilizing the joint.

When do you need a sacroiliac joint fusion?

Sacroiliac joint fusion is typically considered as a treatment option when individuals experience chronic and debilitating pain or dysfunction in the SI joint. Here are some common situations when sacroiliac joint fusion may be necessary:

  • Chronic sacroiliac joint pain - a persistent, severe pain in the lower back, hips, or buttocks, especially one that radiates into the legs. If this pain is diagnosed as originating from the sacroiliac joint, fusion may be considered.
  • Sacroiliitis - an inflammation of the sacroiliac joint often caused by conditions like ankylosing spondylitis or other forms of arthritis. 
  • Traumatic injury - injury to the SI joint, such as fractures or dislocations, can result in ongoing pain and instability. 
  • Ligamentous laxity - a condition where the ligaments that support the sacroiliac joint become overly flexible or damaged. This can lead to instability and pain, which may require fusion to stabilize the joint.

Before considering fusion, individuals typically undergo a course of conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, medications, and injections. If these treatments fail to provide sufficient relief, surgery may become a viable option.

What to expect before the surgery?

Before undergoing sacroiliac joint fusion surgery, there are several important preparations and expectations to keep in mind. 

First, you'll undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation, including a review of your medical history, physical examination, and possibly additional diagnostic tests like X-rays or MRI scans. 

Additionally, your surgeon and medical team will provide specific pre-operative instructions. These instructions may include details on fasting before surgery, discontinuing certain medications, and any other preparations to ensure you are in optimal condition for the procedure.

How is sacroiliac joint fusion performed?

Sacroiliac joint fusion is a surgical procedure designed to stabilize the sacroiliac joint and alleviate pain and dysfunction. It can be performed using different techniques, but here is a general overview of how sacroiliac joint fusion is typically done:

Anesthesia and positioning

Before the surgery begins, you will be placed under anesthesia. You will also be positioned on the operating table in a way that provides the surgeon access to the sacroiliac joint. This positioning may involve lying face down or on your side.

Sacroiliac joint fusion surgery

The surgeon will make a small incision near the sacroiliac joint. The size and location of the incision can vary, but minimally invasive techniques often use smaller incisions. He/she will then perform the following:

  • Carefully move muscles and tissues to access the sacroiliac joint. A special retractor may be used to keep the tissues out of the way during the procedure.
  • Prepare the sacroiliac joint for fusion by removing any damaged or arthritic cartilage from the joint surfaces to ensure a clean and stable fusion.
  • The surgeon will insert implants into the joint to achieve fusion. These implants may be screws, rods, plates, or other devices. 
  • A bone graft may be used to facilitate fusion. This graft material may come from your own body (autograft) or a donor (allograft). The graft material is placed between the sacrum and ilium to encourage bone growth and fusion.

After the implants and bone graft are in place, the surgeon will close the incision using sutures or staples. Sterile dressings are applied to the incision site to promote healing.

What to expect during the recovery stage and rehabilitation?

Recovery and rehabilitation after sacroiliac joint fusion surgery are crucial phases in your journey toward improved mobility and pain relief. Here's what you can generally expect during this period:

Pain management

You may experience some discomfort or pain at the surgical site. Your doctor will prescribe pain medications and provide instructions on their proper use.

Restricted activities

You'll be advised to avoid certain activities that strain or disrupt the healing process. This may include heavy lifting, bending at the waist, and high-impact activities. 

However, you'll be encouraged to start moving and walking as soon as possible after the surgery. Initially, you may need assistance, such as crutches or a walker, to support your mobility.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is a crucial component of your rehabilitation. You'll work with a physical therapist to perform exercises that help strengthen the muscles around the sacroiliac joint and promote joint stability. These exercises are tailored to your individual needs and progress as you heal.

Over time, you'll gradually increase your activity levels under the guidance of your healthcare team. This may include returning to light daily activities, such as driving and work, as you progress in your recovery.

Follow-up appointments

You'll have scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor your progress. During these visits, your surgeon will assess your healing, address any concerns, and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

FAQ: Common questions about sacroiliac joint fusion

How long does the surgery take?

The surgery typically lasts a few hours, and you'll be closely monitored by the medical team throughout. Your surgeon will explain what to expect in detail before the operation.

What's the expected recovery time?

Initial recovery may take a few weeks, with full recovery in a few months.

Will I need to make lifestyle changes after the surgery?

In some cases, lifetime lifestyle adjustments may be necessary to help prevent the recurrence of sacroiliac joint dysfunction or to protect the fused joint. This includes the following:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Practicing good posture and body mechanics when lifting objects or performing daily tasks. 
  • Avoiding prolonged sitting and the use of ergonomic chairs.
  • Continuing physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises.

UNC Orthopedics Panther Creek - Your Trusted Partner in Excellence

At the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek, we are committed to your well-being and dedicated to providing the highest quality of care. As one of the leading surgery centers in the state, we prioritize your safety, education, and overall experience.

When you choose the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek, you're not just choosing a healthcare facility; you're choosing a partner in your journey towards improved health and mobility.

Contact us now to experience the best outpatient orthopedic clinic in the area.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

When an injury strikes, the path to recovery begins with informed choices and proper guidance. Foot and ankle fractures can be particularly challenging, impacting mobility and daily life. 

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the essential steps for healing foot and ankle fractures一from understanding the types of fractures to innovative treatment approaches and long-term recovery strategies.

What is foot and ankle fracture?

A foot and ankle fracture refers to a break or cracks in the bones of the foot and/or ankle. This type of injury can involve various bones, including those in the toes, midfoot, hindfoot, and ankle joint. 

Foot and ankle fractures can vary in location, pattern, and severity. Here are some of the different types of fractures that can affect the foot and ankle:

  1. Displaced fractures

A displaced fracture occurs when the bone breaks into two or more pieces, and the fragments are not in their normal alignment.

  1. Non-displaced fractures

In contrast, non-displaced fractures involve a break in the bone, but the fragments remain relatively aligned.

  1. Open (Compound) fractures

In an open fracture, the broken bone punctures through the skin, increasing the risk of infection.

  1. Closed fractures

Closed fractures are fractures where the bone breaks but does not pierce through the skin.

  1. Stress fractures

These are small cracks in the bone caused by repetitive stress or overuse. They are common in athletes and individuals who engage in high-impact activities.

What causes foot and ankle fractures?

Foot and ankle fractures can be caused by various factors, ranging from traumatic incidents to underlying medical conditions. Here are some of the most common causes:

  1. Trauma and accidents

Sudden and forceful impacts, such as falls, automobile accidents, sports injuries, or trips and slips, can result in foot and ankle fractures.

  1. Sports injuries

Participating in high-impact sports or activities that involve running, jumping, and rapid changes in direction can increase the risk of fractures, especially in the ankle area.

  1. Repetitive stress

Overuse or repetitive stress on the foot and ankle, common in athletes and those engaging in excessive physical activities, can lead to stress fractures.

  1. Age-related changes

As people age, bones may become more brittle, making them more prone to fractures from even minor accidents.

  1. Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as bone tumors or metabolic disorders, can weaken bones and make them more susceptible to fractures.

How are foot and ankle fractures diagnosed?

Diagnosing foot and ankle fractures involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic imaging. 

An orthopedic specialist will carefully assess your symptoms, perform tests, and use imaging techniques to diagnose the fracture accurately. Some examples of diagnostic procedures include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, and bone scans.

How to treat foot and ankle fractures?

The treatment of a foot and ankle fracture depends on several factors, including the type and severity of the fracture, the age and overall health of the patient, and any associated complications.

For stable and non-displaced fractures, doctors usually opt for non-surgical options, such as RICE therapy, immobilization, pain management, and physical therapy. However, a more complex case of fracture calls for surgical interventions. 

Foot and ankle fracture repair involves medical interventions to realign and stabilize the fractured bones, promote healing, and restore normal function. 

The specific procedures and techniques used can vary based on the type and severity of the fracture. Here's an overview of what typically happens during foot and ankle fracture repair:

Preoperative preparation

Before surgery, you will undergo a thorough evaluation, including medical history, physical examination, and imaging studies (X-rays, CT scans, MRI) to assess the extent and nature of the fracture.

Surgical approach

Before the procedure, you will receive anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free during the surgery. The type of anesthesia used (general or regional anesthesia) depends on the surgical approach and your medical condition.

The surgeon makes an incision near the fractured area to access the bones and any displaced fragments. The size and location of the incision vary based on the specific fracture.

Fracture reduction

If the fracture is displaced, the surgeon carefully manipulates the bone fragments into proper alignment. This process is called fracture reduction.

Fixation

  • Internal fixation: The surgeon uses specialized hardware such as screws, plates, rods, or wires to hold the bone fragments in place while they heal. These devices may be placed on the surface of the bone (external fixation) or implanted internally (internal fixation).
  • External fixation: In some cases, an external fixator, a frame-like device with pins or wires, is applied externally to stabilize the fracture and promote proper alignment.

Bone grafting (if necessary)

In cases where the fracture has caused significant bone loss or damage, bone grafts may be used to facilitate healing and stimulate bone growth.

Closure and dressing

Once the bone fragments are secured, the incision is closed using sutures or staples. A sterile dressing or bandage is applied to protect the surgical site.

Postoperative recovery

After surgery, you will be monitored closely in the recovery area. Depending on the procedure and your overall health, you may be discharged the same day or require a short hospital stay.

What happens during the rehabilitation process and recovery?

Rehabilitation and physical therapy play a crucial role in the recovery process. You will work with a physical therapist to gradually regain strength, flexibility, and mobility in the affected foot and ankle.

Weight-bearing progression

As healing progresses, your healthcare provider will guide you through a gradual return to weight-bearing activities. The timeline and progression will depend on the type of fracture and surgical approach.

Physical therapy

Post-fracture rehabilitation often involves physical therapy to restore strength, flexibility, and mobility. Exercises and stretches are tailored to your specific needs and recovery stage.

Functional recovery

Depending on the severity of the fracture, it may take several weeks to months for full functional recovery. It's important to follow the guidance of your healthcare provider and engage in rehabilitation exercises consistently.

Monitoring and follow-up 

Regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider are essential to monitor healing progress, adjust treatment as needed, and address any concerns or complications that may arise.

Frequently asked questions on foot and ankle fracture repair?

  1. What to expect right after surgery?

Pain and discomfort, swelling, dressing on the incision, limited mobility, and medical monitoring. Your doctor will prescribe the proper medications and recommend pain management techniques to lessen your symptoms. 

  1. How long does it take to recover from fracture repair surgery?

Recovery varies, but full functional recovery may take weeks to months.

  1. When can weight-bearing activities resume after fracture repair?

Gradual weight-bearing is introduced as healing progresses, guided by your doctor.

  1. How long do follow-up appointments continue after surgery?

Follow-up appointments are scheduled until healing is complete, usually several months.

Where to find the best outpatient orthopedic clinic?

At the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek, your well-being is our top priority. As a premier destination for orthopedic care, we are committed to providing you with a safe, comfortable, and cutting-edge environment for your surgical journey.

We believe that informed patients are empowered patients. Our dedicated staff of UNC Orthopedics Panther Creek is here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and guide you through each phase of your surgical process. Experience the difference of excellence.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

outpatient orthopedic surgery cary
6715 McCrimmon Parkway
Suite 205 A 
Cary, NC 27519
Monday – Friday: 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
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