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Healing Steps: Foot and Ankle Fracture Repair Guide

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.


  • 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.

With most surgeries, some amount of pain is expected. Some people hesitate to have surgery for fear of a long, challenging, and painful recovery. It is important to consider that some surgeries are more difficult to recover from than others, but you will find relief from your symptoms if you can get through the recovery period. 

Some surgeries cause more pain and have a longer period of recovery than others. Spine and joint replacement surgeries are included in this category. However, every individual is different. Some people experience more pain than others. 

It is important to discuss your concerns and health history when considering surgery, including your pain tolerance. Providers at our outpatient orthopedic clinic in Cary can discuss expectations depending on the surgery performed. 

This article will discuss orthopedic surgeries that tend to be more painful or have a more lengthy recovery period. 

1. Spinal Fusion Surgery

Spinal fusion is a procedure where two vertebrae are fused to prevent the movement that is causing pain. Often the surgeon will use bone grafting, taking bone from the hip, which is used to facilitate bone growth and fuse the vertebrae. 

This type of procedure is typically recommended to address various spinal conditions that cause instability, pain, and limited mobility. Some examples include the following:

  • Spinal instability
  • Spinal deformities, like scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal fractures
  • Chronic back pain

Spinal fusion may be considered a last resort when conservative treatment options fail to provide relief.

What are the challenges faced during recovery?

Spinal surgery is inherently delicate due to the spine's intricate structure and proximity to vital nerves and the spinal cord. As a result, spinal fusion carries higher risks than other orthopedic surgeries. 

After surgery, the recovery period can take up to six months while the vertebrae fuse to the bone graft. It is not unusual to stay at the hospital for several days after having a spinal fusion. 

During recovery, patients may encounter various challenges that can impact their healing process and overall well-being. This includes the following:

  • Post-surgical pain and discomfort
  • Limitations on certain activities, like heavy lifting, bending at the waist, or engaging in high-impact sports. 
  • Dependence on assistive devices
  • Slow healing that can take months to years.
  • Nerve irritation or damage
  • Muscle weakness or atrophy (if without proper rehabilitation)

Overall, spinal fusion surgery is a complex procedure that requires careful consideration of the risks and benefits. Proper preoperative planning, a skilled surgical team, and diligent postoperative care are essential to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient. 

2. Complex Spinal Reconstruction

Complex spinal construction refers to a specialized surgical procedure that involves extensive and intricate interventions to correct severe spinal damage. Common diagnoses include spinal stenosis, scoliosis, spinal tumors, spinal trauma, and spinal infection. 

With these surgeries, the surgeon uses metal rods and screws to correct a curved spine or make it more stable. 

The main goal of a complex spinal reconstruction is to restore spinal alignment, stabilize the spine, relieve pressure on nerves and the spinal cord, and improve the patient's overall function and quality of life.

Why is it hard to recover from complex spinal reconstruction?

Recovery from the procedure can be more painful than other orthopedic surgeries because of the high number of nerves in the spine. Furthermore, a complex spinal reconstruction causes significant soft tissue trauma, thus resulting in significant postoperative pain and discomfort.

Other factors that can contribute to the difficulty of recovery include:

  • High risk of complications
  • Limited mobility
  • Strict activity restrictions
  • Potential for nonunion or pseudoarthrosis

Despite these challenges, it's important to note that many patients achieve significant improvements in pain relief, mobility, and quality of life after successful complex spinal reconstruction. Working closely with a skilled surgical team and committed rehabilitation efforts can lead to positive outcomes in the long run.

3. Knee Replacement

Knee replacement surgeries or total knee arthroplasty (TKA) are increasingly prevalent due to the aging population and the rise of degenerative joint conditions like osteoarthritis. 

This procedure becomes necessary when conservative treatments no longer provide relief and the joint's function significantly deteriorates. 

With a knee replacement, the surgeon removes damaged joints of the knee, replacing them with an artificial joint or implant. It is a common procedure that can cause a painful recovery process.

What are the challenges faced during recovery?

The recovery phase following knee replacement surgery can be challenging for patients due to various factors. Some of the primary challenges include:

  • Pain, discomfort, and soreness despite pain medications.
  • Limited mobility
  • Demanding physical therapy that requires dedication and effort.
  • Muscle weakness, stiffness, and swelling.

Why is it hard to recover from a knee replacement?

Knee replacement surgery is considered challenging to recover from due to the complexity of the joint and the extensive surgery involved. The procedure requires the removal of damaged tissue and the insertion of an artificial implant, disrupting normal knee function. 

Recovery involves healing, regaining strength, and relearning mobility patterns. Additionally, a full recovery is expected by following after-care instructions, including medication, follow-up appointments, and physical therapy. 

4. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Surgery

ACL injuries are common, especially among athletes involved in high-impact sports like soccer, basketball, and football. The ACL is a crucial ligament in the knee that helps stabilize and control the joint's movement. 

When torn or ruptured, it can result in knee instability, pain, and a significant reduction in knee function. The surgeon will then reconstruct or replace torn parts of the ACL.

Non-surgical treatments like physical therapy may be effective for mild cases or less active individuals, but ACL surgeries are often necessary for those with severe injuries or those seeking to return to demanding physical activities and sports.

Though ACL procedures are minimally invasive, they can still cause pain. Recovery from the surgery can take at least six to nine months, depending on the patient’s health and rehabilitation progress.

What are the challenges faced during recovery?

Recovering from ACL surgery presents several challenges for patients, including postoperative pain, swelling, muscle weakness, limited mobility, and problems in balance and proprioception.

Moreover, patients may experience psychological challenges related to the fear of re-injuring the knee.

Why is it hard to recover from ACL surgery?

ACL surgery is considered challenging to recover from due to several factors. The surgery involves repairing or reconstructing a vital ligament in the knee, which is essential for knee stability during physical activities. 

The recovery process demands a delicate balance between protecting the repaired ligament and actively engaging in rehabilitation to regain strength and mobility. 

Additionally, the success of ACL surgery and recovery depends on the patient's commitment to adhering to rehabilitation protocols and making necessary lifestyle adjustments to avoid re-injury.

5. Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder replacement, also known as shoulder arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure used to treat severe shoulder joint damage or arthritis that causes pain, loss of function, and decreased quality of life. 

When the joint's cartilage wears away due to conditions like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, the bones rub against each other, resulting in pain and limited movement. 

Shoulder replacement surgery involves replacing the damaged parts of the joint with artificial components, such as a metal ball and plastic socket, to alleviate pain and restore shoulder function. Check out our blog post and learn more about when is the right time to have a shoulder replacement.

What are the challenges faced during recovery?

Recovering from shoulder replacement surgery presents several challenges for patients, including the following:

  • Postoperative pain: Patients typically experience pain and discomfort after the surgery, affecting mobility and daily activities.
  • Immobilization: In the initial recovery phase, the shoulder may need to be immobilized in a sling to protect the healing joint.
  • Restricted movement: Patients must adhere to strict limitations on shoulder movement to prevent complications and support proper healing.
  • Physical therapy: Rehabilitation through physical therapy is crucial to regain shoulder strength and function but requires patience and commitment.
  • Muscle weakness: Muscles around the shoulder may weaken during the recovery period, requiring targeted exercises to rebuild strength.
  • Gradual progression: Recovery is a gradual process, and patients may need several months to fully regain shoulder function and range of motion.
  • Potential complications: The risk of complications, such as infection or stiffness, can complicate the recovery process.

Why is it hard to recover from shoulder replacement surgery?

Recovering from shoulder replacement surgery is challenging because the shoulder joint is inherently complex and involved in various movements and activities. 

The procedure involves manipulating and replacing essential structures, which can lead to postoperative pain and the need for temporary immobilization. Restoring normal shoulder function requires a carefully managed balance between protecting the healing joint and engaging in progressive rehabilitation. 

A shoulder replacement is considered major surgery and can have a lengthy recovery period. But you can expect a successful recovery by participating in physical therapy, taking medications as prescribed, and following guidelines provided by your surgeon. 

Have the Best Recovery Possible at our Orthopedic Surgery Center in Panther Creek

What can you expect at our orthopedic surgery center? We are leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic procedures. You can trust our board-certified, fellowship-trained doctors to help you recover with the least amount of pain possible.

We know you want to get back to your daily life. That is why we work with our patients on a treatment plan to have a successful recovery, even after the most complicated procedures. 

Our surgeons utilize the best and most advanced surgical techniques to ensure the best possible outcomes. 

Connect with our surgery center at 919-582-3050 for additional information. We, at UNC Orthopedics Panther Creek, look forward to assisting you as your partner in 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.

Dupuytren's Contracture is a relatively common condition that affects about 5% to 25% of people worldwide. The prevalence tends to increase with age, and it is more commonly seen in individuals of European descent.

In this blog post, we will explore the various aspects of Dupuytren's contracture一from its causes and diagnosis to non-surgical treatments and the surgical intervention known as Dupuytren's contracture release. 

What is Dupuytren’s Contracture?

Dupuytren's Contracture is a hand condition characterized by the progressive thickening and contracture of the connective tissues in the palm. This results in the formation of nodules or cords, causing the fingers to bend inward and limiting their range of motion. Other symptoms include:

  • Finger contracture
  • Limited range of motion
  • Grip strength reduction
  • Functional limitations
  • Pain and discomfort

While the exact cause is unknown, certain risk factors, such as genetics, age, and gender, can increase the likelihood of developing this condition.

How is Dupuyren’s Contracture diagnosed?

Dupuytren's contracture is typically diagnosed through a combination of medical history assessment and physical examination. 

A hand surgeon or orthopedic specialist will conduct a thorough physical examination of your hand(s). They will evaluate it through palpation, finger flexion, and hand function.

In some cases, additional imaging tests such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be ordered to evaluate the extent of the disease further or to assess the involvement of deeper structures.

What are the non-surgical treatment options for Dupuytren’s contracture?

Surgery is often the most effective treatment for severe cases of Dupuytren's contracture. However, non-surgical options may still be considered in the early stages of mild cases. 

While these treatments cannot reverse the disease, they aim to alleviate symptoms, slow disease progression, and improve hand function. Some common non-surgical treatment options include collagenase injections, stretching therapy, and dynamic splinting.

What is Dupuytren's contracture release?

Surgical intervention may be necessary when non-surgical options fail to provide satisfactory results or the contractures become severe. Dupuytren's contracture release surgery aims to remove the diseased connective tissue, releasing the contracted fingers and restoring hand function. 

Several surgical techniques are available, and the choice of method depends on factors such as the severity and complexity of the contractures.

  1. Fasciectomy

This is the most common surgical technique for Dupuytren's contracture. It involves removing the diseased connective tissue (fascia) in the palm and fingers. The surgeon makes an incision in the palm and carefully excises the affected tissue. 

In some cases, skin grafts or flaps may be required to cover the surgical site. Fasciectomy can be performed as either a partial (removing part of the fascia) or a total (removing all affected fascia) procedure.

  1. Fasciotomy

Fasciotomy is another surgical technique used to release the contractures in Dupuytren's contracture. Instead of removing the entire diseased tissue, the surgeon strategically makes small incisions in the palm and fingers to release the contracted bands. 

This technique provides immediate relief and improved finger extension. However, the contractures may eventually recur over time.

  1. Needle aponeurotomy (needle fasciotomy)

Needle aponeurotomy, or percutaneous needle fasciotomy or percutaneous aponeurotomy, is a minimally invasive surgical technique. The surgeon uses a small needle to puncture and divide the contracted tissue bands. 

This technique is performed under local anesthesia and can be suitable for selected cases with specific contracture patterns. Needle aponeurotomy provides temporary relief, and the contractures may reoccur in the future.

  1. Dermofasciectomy

Dermofasciectomy combines the removal of the diseased fascia with the excision of the overlying skin. This technique is usually reserved for cases with significant skin involvement, such as severe contractures or recurrent Dupuytren's disease. T

he surgeon removes the affected fascia, along with a layer of skin, and then closes the wound using skin grafts or flaps.

  1. Limited open fasciectomy

Limited open fasciectomy is a modified approach to fasciectomy. Instead of making a long incision in the palm, the surgeon makes smaller incisions to access and remove the diseased tissue in specific locations. 

This technique minimizes scarring and improves recovery time while effectively releasing the contractures.

How to prepare for a Dupuytren’s contracture release procedure?

Before undergoing Dupuytren's contracture release surgery, your healthcare provider will evaluate your candidacy for the procedure. This evaluation may involve a thorough medical history review, physical examination, and possibly additional tests. 

Additionally, you will be informed about the expected outcomes, potential risks, and complications associated with the surgery. Pre-operative preparations may include discontinuing certain medications, adjusting lifestyle habits, and arranging post-operative care and support. 

It's important to follow your healthcare provider's instructions carefully to ensure a smooth surgical experience.

How is the surgery performed?

During Dupuytren's contracture release surgery, the goal is to surgically release the contracted tissue bands in the palm and fingers, allowing for improved finger extension and restoring hand function. 

While specific details may vary depending on the surgical technique used, here is a general overview of what happens during the surgery:

  • Before the surgery begins, anesthesia is administered to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free during the procedure. 
  • Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the surgeon starts making an incision in the palm. The location and length of the incision may depend on the specific technique employed and the extent of the contractures. 
  • After making the incision, the surgeon carefully dissects the layers of skin, fat, and tissue to expose the contracted fascia. They will then remove or release the affected fascia and cords responsible for the contractures. The extent of tissue removal depends on the chosen surgical technique and the severity of the contractures.
  • Depending on the specific circumstances and the extent of the disease, additional procedures may be performed alongside the contracture release. These may include methods such as skin grafting, flap techniques, or joint capsule releases. 
  • Once the necessary tissue release and modifications have been made, the surgeon carefully closes the incision using sutures or other closure techniques. 
  • Following the surgery, the hand is typically dressed with a sterile bandage or dressing to protect the surgical site. 

What to expect after the procedure?

Proper post-surgical care and rehabilitation are vital for optimizing outcomes and restoring hand function. You will receive detailed instructions on wound care, pain management, and the use of splints or dressings. 

Hand therapy and rehabilitation exercises are typically prescribed to improve range of motion, strength, and function. Physical therapy sessions may be necessary to regain optimal hand function. 

It's essential to follow the recommended rehabilitation plan, attend follow-up appointments, and communicate any concerns or issues to your healthcare provider.

Frequently asked questions on Dupuytren’s contracture release surgery

How long does the surgery take?

The duration of the surgery varies depending on the severity and complexity of the contractures, but it typically takes one to two hours.

What is the recovery time after the surgery?

The recovery time can vary, but most individuals can expect several weeks to months for a full recovery. Hand therapy and rehabilitation are often recommended to optimize healing and restore hand function.

Will there be scarring after the surgery?

While some scarring is inevitable, efforts are made to minimize scarring and optimize wound healing. Your surgeon will provide guidance on postoperative care to promote proper healing and reduce scarring as much as possible.

What are the risks associated with the surgery?

Potential risks include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, stiffness, recurrence of contractures, and scarring. Your surgeon will discuss these risks with you before the procedure.

Will the surgery completely eliminate Dupuytren's contracture?

Surgery can effectively release the contracted tissue, improving finger extension and hand function. However, it does not cure Dupuytren's contracture, and there is a possibility of recurrence in the future.

OSC of Panther Creek  - The best orthopedic surgery center in the Triangle

At the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek, your safety and well-being are our top priorities. With our state-of-the-art surgery centers, you can trust that you are in the hands of experienced professionals dedicated to providing high-quality care. 

Our center prioritizes patient education, ensuring you have a thorough understanding of your condition and treatment options. Our commitment to excellence positions our surgery centers as leaders in the state, offering top-notch care and advanced surgical solutions. 

Our orthopedic surgeons and staff look forward to guiding you toward optimal health and recovery. Contact us 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.

Tendons are an integral part of our musculoskeletal system, connecting muscles to bones and enabling movement. However, when tendon injuries occur, they can severely impact our ability to perform daily activities. 

Whether you're curious about the surgical process or seeking tips to enhance your recovery, this article has got you covered. This comprehensive guide will explore the world of tendon repair surgery, shedding light on common procedures and providing essential recovery tips.

How do tendons get injured?

Tendon injuries occur when the tendons, which connect muscles to bones, become damaged or torn. These injuries can result from various causes, including overuse, trauma, acute injury, age-related degeneration, and sports accidents.

The types of tendon injuries can vary based on their severity and location. Here are some common examples:

If you suspect a tendon injury or experience persistent pain or functional limitations, it's recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

The decision to undergo tendon surgery is individualized and depends on various factors, including the type and severity of the injury and the patient's overall health, lifestyle, and functional goals. 

Consulting with a healthcare professional specializing in orthopedics or sports medicine is crucial to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for each specific injury case.

What are the different types of tendon repair procedures?

Different types of tendon repair procedures may be performed depending on the specific tendon injury and its characteristics. Here are some common types of surgical procedures used to treat tendon muscle injuries:

  1. Primary tendon reconstruction

Primary tendon repair is a surgical procedure performed to directly reattach the torn ends of a tendon using sutures. It is typically used for acute injuries where the muscle has undergone a clean, well-aligned tear. The procedure aims to restore the continuity of the connective tissue, allowing it to heal and regain its strength and function.

During primary tendon surgery, the surgeon carefully aligns the torn ends of the tendon and sutures them together using strong stitches. 

The sutures hold the ends of the filaments in place, facilitating the healing process. In some cases, additional techniques, such as reinforcement with suture anchors or augmentation with biological or synthetic materials, may be used to enhance the stability and strength of the repair.

  1. Tendon grafting

Tendon grafting is a type of surgery used to fix a tendon with a gap or insufficient tissue for direct reconstruction. It involves using a graft一a piece of tendon tissue一to bridge the gap between the torn ends of the injured tendon.

  • During tendon grafting, the surgeon harvests a tendon graft from another part of the patient's body (autograft) or uses a donor graft from a cadaver (allograft). The choice of graft depends on factors such as the location and size of the tendon injury, the patient's overall health, and the surgeon's preference.
  • The harvested tendon graft is carefully prepared and trimmed to the appropriate size.
  • It is then secured to the torn ends of the damaged tendon using sutures or specialized fixation devices. 
  • The graft acts as a scaffold, facilitating the healing process and providing support for new tissue growth. 
  • Over time, the body's natural healing processes integrate the graft with the surrounding tissues, effectively replacing the injured portion of the tendon.

Tendon grafting is commonly performed when there is a substantial gap between the torn tendon ends or when the quality of the muscle tissue is compromised. It allows for the reconstruction of the tendon and restoration of its strength and functionality.

  1. Tendon transfer

Tendon transfer, or tendon reconstruction or transposition, is a surgical procedure that involves rerouting a functional tendon from its original muscle and attaching it to a different muscle or bone to restore or enhance the movement of a specific joint.

  • During tendon transfer surgery, the surgeon carefully identifies and accesses the healthy tendon that will be transferred. 
  • The tendon is detached from its original insertion site, preserving its blood supply and integrity. 
  • The surgeon then repositions the tendon, often passing it through a pulley system or tunnel, and secures it to its new attachment site using sutures, anchors, or other fixation techniques.
  • The transferred tendon assumes the role and function of the damaged or non-functional tendon, thereby restoring muscle strength, joint stability, or specific movement patterns.

This procedure is commonly used to address conditions such as tendon ruptures, severe tendon injuries, nerve palsies, and muscle imbalances. The purpose of tendon transfer is to compensate for the loss of function or strength caused by a damaged or non-functional tendon. 

  1. Arthroscopic tendon repair

Arthroscopic tendon reconstruction is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to diagnose and treat damaged or torn tendons using arthroscopy. Arthroscopy involves using a tiny camera called an arthroscope and specialized surgical instruments inserted through small incisions.

  • During an arthroscopic tendon procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions near the affected joint and inserts the arthroscope to visualize the damaged tendon and surrounding structures. 
  • The arthroscope transmits images to a monitor, allowing the surgeon to assess the extent of the tendon injury and guide the process.
  • Using specialized instruments, the surgeon performs the reconstruction by reattaching the torn ends of the tendon. Sutures or other fixation techniques are used to secure the tendon in its proper position and promote healing. 
  • In some cases, additional procedures such as debridement (removal of damaged tissue) or tissue augmentation may be performed during the arthroscopic procedure.

The advantages of arthroscopic tendon reconstruction include smaller incisions, reduced tissue trauma, decreased scarring, and potentially faster recovery compared to traditional open surgery. 

Additionally, it allows for better visualization of the joint structures, precise repair, and the ability to simultaneously address any associated joint pathology.

  1. Open tendon surgery

Open tendon surgery, also known as traditional or open tendon repair, is a procedure that involves a larger incision made directly over the affected tendon to access and fix it. Unlike minimally invasive procedures, open tendon surgery involves a more extensive surgical approach.

  • During open tendon surgery, the surgeon makes a single, longer incision or multiple incisions over the affected tendon area. This provides direct access to the injured tendon and allows for better visualization and manipulation of the tissues.
  • Once the tendon is exposed, the surgeon carefully examines the extent of the injury and prepares the damaged tendon for restoration. 
  • The torn ends of the tendon are aligned and sutured together using strong stitches or sutures. In some cases, additional techniques, such as reinforcement with suture anchors or augmentation of synthetic materials, may be performed.

Open tendon surgery is often performed in cases where the tendon injury is complex, extensive, or requires additional procedures beyond simple repair.

Frequently asked questions about tendon repair surgery?

How can I prepare myself for tendon repair surgery?

Preparing yourself for a tendon reconstruction procedure is vital to ensure a smooth and successful surgery. First, attend your scheduled appointment with your orthopedic surgeon, who will discuss the surgery in detail. 

Additionally, they will assess your overall health, review your medical history, perform any necessary tests or imaging, and provide specific instructions for preparation. Here are some other preparation tips that you may follow:

  • Follow pre-operative instructions, such as specific medications to avoid, fasting guidelines, and other lifestyle modifications.
  • Arrange for transportation on the day of surgery and to drive you home afterward. You may feel groggy or have limited mobility immediately after the procedure, so having assistance is essential.
  • Inform your physician about the medications and supplements you are currently taking. 
  • If you smoke, consider quitting or reducing smoking before surgery, as smoking can impair healing.
  • Make necessary arrangements at home to ensure a comfortable and safe recovery. Prepare your living space, arrange for any required assistive devices (crutches or braces), and stock up on essential supplies.

How long does tendon repair surgery typically take?

The duration of tendon repair can vary depending on the location and complexity of the tendon injury, the specific surgical technique used, the surgeon's experience, and any additional procedures that may be performed. However, tendon reconstruction generally takes approximately 1 to 3 hours.

What to expect after the procedure?

After tendon surgery, it's important to have realistic expectations about the recovery process. Here are general aspects of what to expect and some recovery tips to boost healing:

  • Your surgeon may immobilize the repaired tendon with a splint, cast, or brace immediately after surgery. 
  • It's common to experience pain, swelling, and discomfort in the area of the surgical site. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medications to manage any post-operative pain.
  • Elevating the affected limb and applying ice packs as directed can help reduce swelling and provide relief.
  • You may be advised to restrict activities and avoid putting weight on the affected limb for a specific period. 
  • Use crutches, braces, or other assistive devices as instructed. They aid in protecting the surgical site, maintaining stability, and facilitating safe movement during the early stages of recovery.
  • Eat a balanced diet to support healing and tissue repair. Stay hydrated and avoid smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, which can impede recovery.
  • You will have follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor your recovery progress. During these visits, the surgeon will assess the healing of the tendon, remove any stitches or sutures if necessary, and make any necessary adjustments to your rehabilitation plan.

What is the recovery time after tendon repair surgery?

It's important to note that recovery time is not solely determined by the surgical procedure itself but also by the rehabilitation process and your body's healing response. 

Generally, patients take at least 12 weeks to six months before they experience full healing and recovery. 

Will I need physical therapy after the surgery?

Rehabilitation plays a vital role in a patient’s recovery process. Your surgeon will prescribe a physical therapy program tailored to your specific needs. Physical therapy will focus on regaining the range of motion, strengthening the repaired tendon and surrounding muscles, and gradually returning to functional activities.

When can I return to normal activities and sports after tendon repair surgery?

The timeline for returning to normal activities will vary depending on the tendon repaired and your recovery progress. It's important to follow your surgeon's instructions regarding gradual return to activities to avoid re-injury. Returning to sports or high-impact activities will generally take longer and may require specific clearance from your surgeon.

Furthermore, active participation in post-operative physical therapy and adherence to the rehabilitation program is crucial for optimal recovery.

Where to find the best outpatient orthopedic clinic?

Are you in need of top-notch tendon reconstruction and exceptional orthopedic care? UNC Orthopedics Panther Creek is your premier destination for common and specialized orthopedic procedures.

Our clinic is staffed with highly experienced orthopedic surgeons who specialize in treating tendon injuries and other orthopedic conditions. We are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology to ensure accurate diagnosis and precise surgical interventions, such as:

And more!

Don't let tendon injuries or other orthopedic conditions hold you back. Contact us 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.

Elbow pain is a prevalent condition that can affect people of all ages. In fact, studies suggest that approximately 3% of the general population experience elbow pain at some point in their life. However, this phenomenon commonly occurs in aging seniors, workers who use their arms repetitively, and athletes.  

Moreover, elbow pain is a common symptom that can point to a broad set of elbow injuries and conditions. Some symptoms may come from a simple ligament strain or inflamed tendon, while others may already be a telltale sign of a chronic elbow condition. 

A great and innovative technique to know the reason behind your elbow pain is through an elbow arthroscopy. If you are currently scheduled for such a procedure, then you don’t have anything to worry about. 

Here’s an in-depth guide on everything you need to know about elbow arthroscopy.

What is elbow arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to visualize the inside of the joint to diagnose and treat an associated problem. It can be performed to see the internal issues of any joint, such as the shoulder, knee, ankle, or elbow.

During elbow arthroscopy, your surgeon will insert a narrow, flexible tube with an attached fiber optic video camera at the end (called an arthroscope) into the elbow joint. This device will transmit a real-time, high-definition video onto a monitor so your doctor can view the joint in great detail. 

Besides diagnostic accuracy, elbow arthroscopy also offers several advantages compared to traditional open surgery. This includes the following:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less pain, swelling, and other post-operative symptoms.
  • Reduced risk of infection rate and other surgical complications.
  • Faster healing and recovery time
  • Shorter surgery time
  • Low possibility of permanent surgical scars.

Additionally, elbow arthroscopy is a minor procedure that’s often performed in an outpatient setting. This means you don’t have to stay overnight in the surgical facility; your doctor may discharge you once the anesthesia wears off. 

When is elbow arthroscopy necessary?

Doctors often treat elbow injuries and conditions using non-surgical methods, such as RICE therapy, physiotherapy, and medications. However, if the condition does not improve and worsens over time, your doctor will recommend elbow arthroscopy. 

An elbow arthroscopy allows an orthopedic surgeon to diagnose and treat elbow problems causing pain and inflammation. This includes the following elbow injuries and conditions:

  • Lateral and medial epicondylitis
  • Olecranon bursitis
  • Stress fracture
  • Elbow fracture
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
  • Nerve entrapment

Additionally, the above-mentioned conditions may also cause impaired elbow flexibility, range of motion, and overall arm mobility. Performing an elbow arthroscopy can help reduce these symptoms and restore optimal arm function.

Additionally, it can also be used to remove bone spurs or loose bodies inside the joints and release scar tissues for improved mobility.

How is elbow arthroscopy performed?

An elbow arthroscopy is often performed with the help of general anesthesia, meaning you’ll be asleep and won’t feel anything during the whole operation. You will then be positioned in a way that your surgeon will get the best access to your elbow, which is either lying on your stomach or side.

  • The procedure starts by making 2-3 buttonhole-sized incisions in the elbow joint. These will serve as portals of entry for the arthroscope and other specialized instruments.
  • Your surgeon will fill the joint with sterile fluid for better viewing and to lessen the risk of injuring delicate structures, such as the nerves and blood vessels. 
  • Once inside, your surgeon will evaluate the problem and then start carrying out specific tasks, such as removing the damaged cartilage, repairing muscle tears, or removing loose fragments.
  • Once done, your surgeon will suture the incision and cover it with skin tapes or sterile bandages. They may also place your elbow in a splint to keep it immobile for a few days. 

After surgery, you will be placed in a recovery area where a medical team will monitor your vital signs. You’ll wait at least an hour or two before the anesthesia wears off, and you can be discharged to go home.

Frequently asked questions about elbow arthroscopy

How long does elbow arthroscopic surgery take?

Surgery usually lasts for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how complex the surgery is or the severity of the condition.  

What to expect after an elbow arthroscopy?

Expect a tolerable level of pain and discomfort right after your elbow arthroscopy. There’s nothing to worry about since your doctor will prescribe a set of medications to reduce pain and swelling as you recover at home. Your physician will also provide post-surgical instructions that you need to follow, such as the following:

  • Apply a cold compress to the newly operated elbow joint and keep it elevated for the first 48 hours.
  • Wear your splint, brace, or sling as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Undergo physical therapy immediately to stimulate blood circulation in the area, thus reducing inflammation and augmenting recovery.
  • Perform gentle finger exercises or range of motion activities at home. 
  • No weight bearing or heavy lifting using your newly operated elbow unless cleared by your doctor.
  • Follow the post-operative incision and dressing care for your surgical wound.
  • Attend regular check-ups with your orthopedic specialist.

When can I return to work after elbow arthroscopy?

The length of recovery varies from person to person. Most patients are cleared to return to their regular routine after a week or two. However, expect to still feel some level of discomfort, bruising, and swelling in the elbow. Full recovery can take several months.

It’s important to talk to your physician about the specific activities you may or may not do to prevent injuring the elbow joint.  

What are the risks of elbow arthroscopy?

Elbow arthroscopy is a safe and effective procedure for treating common elbow conditions. But like any other invasive operation, it does come with some risks, such as:

  • Infection
  • Blood clot
  • Bleeding problems
  • Damage to nearby tissues, nerves, and blood vessels due to the small area.
  • Nerve irritation

However, these complications happen rarely, especially if you are in the hands of the board-certified surgeons of the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek.

UNC Orthopedics and Panther Creek

Experience high-quality treatment and patient care at UNC Orthopedics and Panther Creek

The Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek is one of the best and most trusted outpatient orthopedic clinics in North Carolina. We have a team of fellowship-trained surgeons on board committed to providing the highest quality of medical care and treatment. We can help treat your orthopedic problems to achieve maximum independence and normal function.  

Contact us now to learn more about our services!

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.

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive technique used to diagnose and/or treat various conditions affecting the joints, such as the ankle joint. Over the years, ankle arthroscopy has become a common orthopedic procedure performed to manage various ankle disorders, such as those caused by degenerative diseases, trauma, and neoplastic conditions. 

Arthroscopic surgery of the ankle joints is becoming the standard for most surgeons since it allows them to perform complex procedures with minimal risks of complications. 

If you have an upcoming ankle arthroscopy, then read on to gain some reassurance about the procedure, how you can prepare for it, and the recovery timeline. 

What is ankle arthroscopy?

An ankle arthroscopy is a surgical technique wherein a surgeon uses a tiny, flexible tube with a light and a video camera. The device is called an arthroscope. It is used to view the inside of the ankle joint on a large screen to examine and repair the injured area using specialized tools. All bone and soft tissue reparations may be done by creating only small incisions the size of a keyhole. 

Since ankle arthroscopy only utilizes 2-3 tiny incisions, it provides significant medical benefits over traditional ankle surgery. This includes the following:

  • Minimal stress and soft tissue trauma
  • Minimal swelling and pain
  • Quicker recovery and healing time
  • Little to no risk of complications, such as infection.

Furthermore, ankle arthroscopy is known to be a safe and effective procedure. The success of an operation will depend on many factors, such as the patient's age, the severity of the condition, and the technique used. But generally, most patients who undergo the procedure achieve a success rate of 85 to 95%.

When do you need an ankle arthroscopy?

The ankle joint is made up of connected bones from the leg (tibia and fibula) and the foot (talus). It is surrounded by ligaments and other muscle structures, which allow movement and provide stability.

However, these structures can also sustain injuries or develop joint disorders as a result of wear and tear, trauma, or overuse. Most ankle problems begin with a seemingly simple ankle pain, which can become severe and may then develop other debilitating symptoms. 

An orthopedic specialist may use ankle arthroscopy to diagnose and treat various conditions, such as the following:

These conditions are typically managed using non-surgical methods first, such as medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections. But if there’s no improvement for at least 3 to 6 months, then your orthopedic specialist may recommend ankle arthroscopy.

How to prepare for the surgery?

Before the surgery, your doctor will perform a series of pre-operative tests to determine if you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. This will include medical history review, blood tests, and imaging exams.

Your doctor will also instruct you to stop smoking, drinking alcohol, and intake of specific medications, such as blood thinners. You might also be instructed not to eat or drink for several hours before the procedure.

Lastly, someone must drive you home and be with you for a few days. Additionally, you should make home and work arrangements so you can rest and heal without hassle once you get discharged.

What happens during an ankle arthroscopy?

An anesthesia provider will administer a medication that will make you fall asleep or feel numb in the lower extremities. This will help keep you safe and comfortable during the procedure. Your surgeon will then start the surgery by:

  • Making 2-3 half-inch incisions that will serve as “portals” where the arthroscope and specialized tools will enter. 
  • Letting sterile fluid flow into the joint for better visualization.
  • Inspecting the joint and its surrounding soft tissues to determine the root cause of the ankle problem.
  • Performing different techniques needed to manage the condition, such as ankle debridement, repairing torn ligaments, or removing bone spurs.
  • Closing the incisions using stitches and placing a bandage on top to protect the healing wound.

After the procedure, you will be transferred into a recovery room, where healthcare professionals will monitor your vital signs. Your doctor will then discharge you once the anesthesia wears off and when they deem you capable of continuing recovery at home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ankle arthroscopy an outpatient procedure?

Yes. Most patients can go home a few hours after the procedure. 

Is ankle arthroscopy painful?

You won’t feel anything during the procedure. But once the anesthesia wears off during your recovery, it’s normal to feel pain, discomfort, and swelling. Fortunately, your doctor will prescribe the right medications and instruct you about proper aftercare to reduce your symptoms. 

How long does the surgery take?

Normally, ankle arthroscopy only takes at least one to two hours. But your surgeon can take longer than expected, especially for severe and complex cases. The length of the procedure will also depend on the kind of ankle condition you have. 

When is it safe to walk?

Generally, doctors instruct patients to rest and elevate the operated ankle for at least three days. They may also recommend the use of crutches for at least a week to provide support and aid in weight bearing. You will also need to start physical therapy after two to three days of the surgery. 

Most patients are deemed safe to walk freely after two to three weeks of recovery. You may also return to your daily routines, such as work and driving, after ten days. However, your doctor will be the one to clear you when it is safe to go back to intensive workouts or sports.

How long will recovery take after an ankle arthroscopy?

Recovery may vary from person to person. But most patients achieve complete healing after 12 weeks or three months. 

panther creek orthopedics

Where to find the best outpatient orthopedic surgery center

The Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek is home to the best physicians and surgeons specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of various orthopedic conditions. Our advanced techniques, partnered with state-of-the-art equipment, ensure that each patient receives the highest quality of care and services.

You can trust our board-certified fellowship-trained surgeons to create an appropriate treatment plan to address your ankle condition. We strive to help you recover with minimal pain to regain maximum mobility. 

Contact us to learn more about ankle arthroscopy and other orthopedic procedures.

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.

The meniscus is a C-shaped fibrocartilage located in the knee that serves as a protective structure and shock absorber between the thighbone and shinbone. It also aids in distributing the axial load evenly, lubricates the knee joint, and stabilizes it for optimal movement. There are two of them located on each knee.

  • Medial meniscus located on the inside of the knee.
  • Lateral meniscus located on the outside part of the knee.

But no matter how tough this cartilage can be, a meniscus is still vulnerable to tears and damage. According to studies, meniscus injuries are common and affect about 1 million individuals in the US yearly. Treatment depends on many factors, but many are treated by performing a meniscectomy.. 

If you have a scheduled meniscus repair surgery, then you have nothing to worry about. Below is an in-depth discussion on why you need it and the nitty-gritty of what happens before, during, and after the surgery.

What is a meniscectomy?

A meniscectomy or meniscal repair refers to a surgical procedure used to repair a damaged meniscus in the knee. It is usually performed for severe cases of meniscus tears or when conservative options fail to improve or manage its symptoms. 

A meniscectomy can be performed in a variety of ways depending on the severity, location, and size of the injury. Your orthopedic surgeon will assess your situation and decide whether to perform a:

  • Partial procedure (only the damaged section is removed) or a complete surgery (wherein both the meniscus and rim are removed).
  • An arthroscopic procedure or traditional open surgery.

When do you need a meniscectomy?

Minor meniscus tears can heal with non-surgical options, such as RICE therapy and pain medications. Orthopedic surgeons may recommend surgery if: 

  • Severe vascular damage
  • A large portion of the meniscus has been damaged
  • The tear does not heal or improve with non-surgical methods. 

However, the type of surgery to be performed will still depend on the patient’s age, activity level, symptoms, location of the injury, size, and cause of the tear. 

How can you prepare before the procedure?

Before the surgery, you will undergo a series of pre-operative tests, such as medical history review, physical examination, blood tests, and imaging exams. These procedures will allow your doctor to determine if you are a good candidate for meniscus surgery. 

Once you’re cleared, your doctor will give you specific medical instructions, such as what medicines you should stop taking, when to stop eating, or when to quit smoking.

Additionally, it would be good to make home and work arrangements beforehand to help you get ready during the recovery period. This includes taking time off work, getting someone to drive you home after the procedure, and making temporary sleeping arrangements.

What happens during a meniscectomy?

The procedure begins by administering either spinal or general anesthesia so that you won’t feel any pain during the surgery. Your surgeon can either perform an arthroscopic surgery or an open surgery, depending on your conditions. 

  • An arthroscopic surgery involves three small incisions on the affected site. A thin, flexible, lighted scope will be inserted into it, as well as other specialized tools. The doctor will then begin to perform the required procedures, such as removing the damaged parts, trimming the frays, or repairing the minute tears through sutures. 
  • Traditional, open surgery involves a large incision to access the knee joint. The tears are identified and then repaired or removed. 

Once done, your surgeon will suture the incision and close it with staples or gauze pads. You will then be transferred into a recovery room, where you’ll rest and wait until the anesthesia wears off. While in there, a team of medical professionals will monitor your vital signs and attend to your medical needs. 

What to expect after the surgery?

It is normal to feel pain and swelling immediately after the operation. Your doctor will provide proper medications to help reduce these symptoms. 

Meniscus repair using an arthroscopic procedure is an outpatient operation, which means you can go home on the day of the surgery. However, open surgeries might require patients to stay for a few days to recover.  Some of the post-operative recovery strategies you need to do include the following:

  • You will need to undergo physiotherapy or home exercises to help restore muscle strength and knee joint mobility. 
  • You will need a knee brace to help stabilize the operated knee while it heals. Your doctor may also recommend crutches for about a week so you won’t put much weight onto the healing joint. 
  • Perform RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).
  • You will be instructed regarding proper wound care and medication administration to prevent infection.

Your doctor will then schedule regular appointments so they can check the healing progress of your knees. Additionally, they will use this time to evaluate your condition and clear you for certain activities.

Frequently asked questions about meniscectomy

Is the procedure painful?

No. You will be numb or sedated during the procedure so that you won’t feel anything. However, you will experience pain and discomfort after the anesthesia wears off. But there’s nothing to worry about, as pain and anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve these symptoms.

What is the length of recovery for a meniscectomy?

The recovery time varies depending on the technique used and the severity of the meniscus damage. Normally, a patient who has undergone arthroscopic meniscus repair takes at least 6 to 8 weeks before they can return to their normal, day-to-day activities again, such as work and sports.

What are the benefits of a meniscectomy?

Most individuals who had undergone a meniscectomy experienced significant pain relief in their knee joints. This resulted in improved mobility, better knee stability, and prevented further knee joint injury. 

raleigh orthopedic panther creek

Where to get a meniscectomy in North Carolina?

UNC Orthopaedics at Panther Creek is one of the leading providers of orthopedic care and treatment services in the area. We offer advanced techniques and high-quality procedures to treat various orthopedic injuries and conditions. 

Get yourself checked by one of our board-certified specialists at Raleigh Orthopedic or Panther Creek

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.

Thanks to countless healthcare and technological advancements, surgical procedures today are not as risky as before. Now, doctors can operate and treat patients without performing a traditional open surgical technique. 

Over the years, various minimally invasive surgical procedures made it possible for doctors to diagnose and treat patients using tiny incisions near the affected area. This is a massive breakthrough in the medical field since small incisions also mean faster recovery time and fewer complications. 

Below is an in-depth discussion on everything you need to know about your upcoming minimally invasive surgery一what is it, how is it performed, and frequently asked questions. We aim to provide you with accurate knowledge regarding your procedure so you’ll feel prepared and comfortable during your surgery.

What is minimally invasive surgery?

A minimally invasive surgery refers to a medical procedure that can be used to diagnose, treat, and manage various disorders. It is performed using tiny incisions rather than the traditional large cuts. 

In this type of surgery, a doctor only needs to create one or more button-sized incisions called ports, which will serve as the entry point of specialized instruments. A small, narrow tube with a video camera at the end will be inserted into the port, together with other types of small surgical instruments. 

Your surgeon will then perform the required task, such as diagnosing the source of your symptoms, removing loose fragments, or repairing damaged structures. All of these are done with the help of a video camera inside, which will broadcast the inside of the body on a large screen monitor outside.

Additionally, some types of minimally invasive procedures are performed with the help of robotic technology. 

How is minimally invasive surgery performed?

Generally, most minimally invasive surgical techniques follow the same initial procedure. However, methods may differ depending on the procedure’s specific goal and target area. Some examples of common minimally invasive surgeries and their approaches include the following: 

  • Arthroscopy—a type of minimally invasive surgery that utilizes an arthroscope to diagnose and treat orthopedic conditions, such as fractures and ligament tears.
  • Endoscopy—a long and flexible tube (endoscope) will be inserted into the throat to examine the digestive tract (e.g., esophagus, stomach, duodenum).
  • Colonoscopy—a flexible tube with a light and camera on end used to inspect the colon or the large intestine. It will pass through the anus and rectum to view the colon and look for abnormalities, such as polyps or swollen and irritated tissues.
  • Bronchoscopy—a thin tube will be inserted into the nose and then passed down the throat to look into the lungs. It may be utilized to inspect the airways or for therapeutic purposes for some lung disorders.
  • Hysteroscopy—a thin, flexible device with a lighted end is inserted into the vagina to inspect the cervix and uterus for irregularities. Diagnostic hysteroscopy may be used to diagnose the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding or blocked fallopian tubes. On the other hand, operative hysteroscopy may be used to perform endometrial ablation or polyp removal.
  • Laparoscopy—small incisions are created in the tummy to access and view the inside of the abdomen using a thin, flexible tube.
  • Robotic-assisted surgery—a surgeon will utilize a set of robotic arms and a video camera to perform minimally invasive surgeries. This allows doctors to treat chronic conditions and perform complex operations, such as atrial fibrillation, heart valve repair, kidney blockage, kidney transplant, and various types of tumor removal.

Frequently asked questions on minimally invasive surgery

How can you prepare for your minimally invasive surgery?

Once you are scheduled for a minimally invasive surgery, your doctor will also give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your procedure. You may be asked to undergo a full medical evaluation, blood tests, cardiovascular clearance, and others. 

Additionally, your doctor might give you a list of medications to avoid (e.g., blood thinners), so make sure to disclose everything with them. They may also suggest you quit smoking and avoid alcohol consumption for as long as possible before the surgery and during recovery.

How long do you need to stay in the facility?

Most minimally invasive procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. This means that there’s no need to stay for more than a few days in the facility一you may be discharged that same day.  

What to expect right after the surgery?

Generally, doctors perform minimally invasive surgeries with the help of anesthetics, which means you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. 

However, it’s normal to experience soreness, pain, and some swelling in the operated area right after the surgery. You will be given a list of instructions regarding proper medications, wound care, and other vital post-operative information for a faster recovery.

Additionally, your doctor will require you to avoid or limit physical activities during the recovery period. Some procedures may also entail physical therapy and rehabilitation as part of the recovery process.

How long does it take to recover from a minimally invasive surgery?

Generally, it can take four to six weeks or more to recover from minimally invasive surgery. But, of course, it will still depend on the type of procedure performed, its complexity, and the severity of the patient’s condition. 

Urgent care in Bayton

Where to find the best orthopedic surgery center in NC?

The Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek provides comprehensive orthopedic care to patients in need. Our board-certified physicians specialize in performing various minimally invasive procedures to diagnose, treat, and manage common orthopedic conditions.

Contact us now to experience world-class services and exceptional patient care at Raleigh Orthopedic and Panther Creek

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.

Spinal fusion refers to an orthopedic procedure used to permanently join two or more vertebrae (bones) in the spine. Its main function is to weld the problematic vertebrae together, creating a strong, solid bone as it heals. 

Generally, doctors perform this operation to eliminate pain when moving, which is usually caused by instability or deformity in the vertebrae. 

If you’re scheduled to have this kind of surgery, then you’re probably curious about what happens while you’re on the table. So, here are some of the things you need to do or expect before, during, and after the operation.

When is spinal fusion surgery recommended?

Spinal fusion, also known as arthrodesis, is typically performed to relieve the symptoms of several spinal conditions. It involves connecting two vertebrates together through bone grafting, removing mobility in the area to reduce pain, instability, and the risk of further injury.

Generally, doctors recommend a spinal fusion for patients with back problems that do not get better with conservative treatment options. Some examples of such diseases include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • An illness caused by the natural wear and tear of the spinal discs (a rubber-like structure located between vertebrates) that happens when a person ages. As the cushioning frays away, the two spinal bones will eventually rub against each other, causing pain and other problems.
  • Spinal stenosis
  • a condition wherein the nerve roots get compressed within the narrowing space of the spinal canal, causing moderate to severe pain. It usually happens as a complication of osteoarthritis.
  • Scoliosis
  • The abnormal sideways curvature of the spine may either be congenital or a complication of spinal stenosis.
  • Kyphosis
  • An excessive outward rounding of the spine in the upper back caused by weakened vertebrae.
  • Herniated disc
  • A bulging or ruptured spinal disc due to an injury or natural wear and tear of the cushions. As the disc protrudes out, it will create pressure on the outer ring, causing lower back pain.
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • An abnormal forward movement or slippage of the vertebrae causing spinal instability and pain during movement.
  • Fracture in the vertebra
  • Spinal instability due to a tumor or infection

When you have the conditions mentioned above, you may find significant pain relief after a spinal fusion surgery. It may decrease your range of motion or flexibility, but it won’t entirely affect your movements and ability to perform activities.

An orthopedic doctor will diagnose your spinal condition through your symptoms, medical history, and physical examination. Your doctor will also utilize imaging procedures to confirm their diagnoses, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.

How to prepare for a spinal fusion operation?

Initially, your doctor will try to relieve your symptoms using non-invasive methods, such as medications, injectables, and physical therapy. If these techniques fail, your doctor will then recommend a spinal fusion surgery. 

Your doctor will order a series of laboratory tests to ensure you’re healthy enough to undergo such a procedure. Some of the things you can do to prepare for your operation include:

  • Quit smoking and alcohol drinking.
  • Disclose your current medications with your doctor.
  • Prepare your home to avoid any hassle after the surgery. This may include moving the bed downstairs, placing important items within reach, or investing in assistive devices. 
  • Have someone drive you to and from the facility. You may also enlist the help of family members in doing household activities during your recovery.

Most spinal fusion surgeries are performed using minimally invasive techniques, thus allowing it to be an outpatient procedure. This means that you can go home on the day of your surgery only if there are no complications detected.

What happens during the procedure?

Before the procedure, your doctor will put you under general anesthesia, which means that you’ll be in a sleep-like state and won’t feel any pain. Here’s a play-by-play on how your surgeon will perform a spinal fusion:

  • Your orthopedic surgeon can use different approaches (e.g., anterior, posterior) to access the spine, depending on the damaged area. He/she may utilize a minimally invasive technique or an open procedure, depending on the severity of the condition and its location.
  • The surgeon will then make an incision that will directly give access to the problematic vertebrates (e.g., directly over the spine, back of the neck, etc.).
  • Next, your surgeon will prepare the bone graft and harvest it either from your own pelvis or a bone bank. They may also use an artificial bone graft material. 
  • Once prepared, they will place it in the space between the vertebrae. Your surgeon will then perform an internal fixation using metal rods, screws, and plates to add strength and stability to the fused bones. Internal fixation can also help increase the healing rate of the fused bones.
  • Lastly, the incision will be closed using sutures.

The whole procedure takes at least two to three hours, depending on the patient’s back problem. Sometimes, it may take longer (up to 7 hours) for complicated or severe cases. 

After the surgery, you will be taken into a recovery room where healthcare providers monitor your vitals and condition. For a minimally invasive spinal fusion, patients may be discharged after a few hours of recuperation in the recovery area. But for open surgeries and complex cases, the patient may need to stay in the facility for at least three days.

What should you expect after spinal fusion surgery?

Right after the procedure, it’s normal to feel pain, soreness, and general discomfort as part of the healing process. Your physician will prescribe pain relievers and other medications to deal with these temporary effects. Some of the do’s and dont’s your doctor may instruct you to do include:

  • Wearing a brace to keep the spine immobile and stable.
  • Limiting movements and activities to let the bones heal and fuse correctly. This means no work, driving, heavy exercise, or household chores for a few days.
  • Learning new techniques to move around safely. For example, the log-rolling technique may be used to get out of bed without twisting the spine.
  • Consume only soft foods for a few days. 
  • Attending physical therapy sessions to improve healing time and learn ways to exercise and perform daily living activities safely. Rehabilitation usually starts six weeks after the surgery.

How long is the recovery time for spinal fusion?

With proper post-operative care and rehabilitation, you will gradually regain your strength and ability to perform light activities. Your doctor will clear you on what activities you can safely resume. 

Generally, patients achieve full recovery four to six months after the surgery. Of course, this will still depend on the patient’s age, overall physical condition, and underlying medical illnesses.

natural wear and tear of the spinal discs

Raleigh Orthopedic and Panther Creek一your trusted surgery center for quality orthopedic services. 

The Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek is one of the most trusted outpatient surgery centers in Cary. Our board-certified physicians are equipped with advanced sub-specialty training to provide different treatment options for various orthopedic conditions. 

If you have any questions regarding spinal fusion surgery, don’t hesitate to give us a call 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.

Knee pain and discomfort are common for many people of all ages. It can happen when there’s age-related structural damage, overuse, or a recent injury. Most of the time, such knee aches go away on their own with proper rest, icing, and therapy. 

However, not all knee conditions go away on their own. Some may occur as a symptom of a chronic or degenerative illness, which may require surgical interventions. Some of the telltale signs that you might need to consider knee surgery include the following:

  • Knee pain that does not get better with non-surgical treatment options.
  • Persistent, recurring, or worsening pain.
  • Mobility problems 
  • Pain that prevents you from sleeping or performing activities of daily living
  • Pain that comes with other symptoms, such as swelling and deformity.

If you are experiencing some of the above-mentioned symptoms, then you probably have a knee condition that’s beyond the capabilities of medications and therapy. Your orthopedic specialist may have already scheduled you for a specific knee procedure. 

To help you with your journey, here are five of the most common knee surgeries and how you can prepare for them. We will also provide relevant information on what to expect during and after the procedure.

How to prepare for your knee surgery?

Before any surgical procedure, doctors give patients specific medical instructions in preparation for their surgery. Patients may also organize home preparations beforehand to allow for a hassle-free recovery. Here are some of the basics that you may need to know:

  • Your orthopedic surgeon will require a series of tests (e.g., blood tests, ECG) to determine if you’re suitable for knee surgery.
  • Preoperative medical clearances from your primary care doctors (e.g., cardiologist) may also be needed.
  • You will be instructed to stop taking specific medications seven days before the surgery. This may include NSAIDs, dietary supplements, and blood thinners.
  • Cut or decrease smoking and alcohol use.
  • Take a leave of absence for at least two or more weeks from work. You’ll need this time to rest and recuperate.
  • Arrange for someone to accompany you to and from the orthopedic facility. You can also arrange for someone to help you at home during the first few days of your recovery.
  • Make sure to prepare your sleeping arrangements beforehand. If possible, it’s better to spend your sleeping, resting, and waking hours on the same floor to avoid the stairs. 
  • Organize your home to make frequently used items easily accessible for you. Remove clutter or any tripping or falling hazards.

An anesthesiologist will administer a regional block or general anesthesia before the surgery so you won’t feel any pain during the whole procedure. You’ll be connected to a patient monitor so the medical team can keep track of your vital signs.

Knee arthroscopy

A knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure to diagnose and treat various knee problems. It is also known as “keyhole surgery” since it only utilizes 2 to 3 tiny incisions to access the knee joint. This procedure also uses a tiny camera called an arthroscope to get a clear picture of the joint problem without needing an open incision. 

The tiny incisions will also serve as an entry point for small, specialized tools that will be used to remove, repair, or trim the damaged structures in the joint. Some of the most common conditions that are treated using arthroscopy include:

  • Torn or damaged meniscus
  • Torn or damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Synovitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Synovial chondromatosis
  • Knee sepsis
  • Patellar problems

Knee arthroscopy results in less pain, fewer complications, and faster recovery. Most patients can also return to their normal activities without restrictions after full recovery. 

Knee replacement

Knee replacement or knee arthroplasty is often recommended for patients experiencing severe knee pain due to different forms of arthritis. The procedure involves removing the damaged parts of the knee joint and then placing artificial implants on top of it. There are two types of arthroplasty:

  • Partial knee replacement

-the procedure involves replacing a small part or one compartment of the knee joint with metal or plastic implants. This is commonly performed in patients with mild to moderate damage in the knee joints due to arthritis. Partial knee replacement allows patients to retain most of their healthy, natural bones.

-a total arthroplasty involves removing the damage and replacing the whole knee joint with artificial ones. Both the portion of the thighbone and shinbone will be given artificial implants to eliminate pain and discomfort during movement.

How is it performed?

Your surgeon will place your knees in a bent position and make an incision of about six to ten inches. Once the surfaces of the joint are exposed, the procedure typically involves four phases:

  • Preparing the joint surfaces - the damaged bones and cartilage at the end portion of the femur and tibia are removed. Some bones in the area will be removed so the implants will fit properly.
  • Resurface the patella - sometimes, the kneecaps may need resurfacing by cutting some of the portions underneath. This will enable the implants to fit better into the joint.
  • Attach the implants - the new metal joints or components will be placed or press-fit into the bone. It will then be cemented in place to mimic a knee joint.
  • Place the spacer - a plastic spacer will be fitted in between the two metal implants to ensure seamless and smooth gliding during movement.

Kneecap surgery

Kneecap surgery refers to a procedure used to treat problems in the kneecap or patella. This can include patellar fractures, malalignment, dislocation, or deformity. This type of surgery can be done arthroscopically or through open surgery, depending on the severity of the condition.

Some of the techniques that may be performed during a kneecap surgery include the following:

  • Lateral release - cutting the retinaculum tissue or releasing the plica band can reduce pain and improve movement.
  • Quad transfer - detaching the quadricep muscle and then reattaching it to a new place to improve balance and movement.
  • Patellar realignment - reattaching the patellar tendon to a new location to improve motion and reduce discomfort.

Complex knee surgery

Complex knee surgery is performed to treat a complex knee injury一a condition wherein two or more knee ligaments have been damaged. A multi-ligament injury rarely happens, but when they do, it can be caused by a dislocation due to a traumatic accident. 

panthers orthopedic surgeons

How long does it take to recover from knee surgery?

The length of your recovery will depend on a lot of factors, such as age, type of surgery, and severity of your condition. Procedures done arthroscopically have lesser recovery time (around six weeks to three months) than traditional open surgeries. But for most types of surgeries, it typically takes at least a year before swelling disappears and for the knees to feel normal again.

Additionally, all types of surgeries require physical therapy and rehabilitation to ensure timely recovery. It is a crucial part of one’s recovery journey since it will help the patient with the following:

  • Strengthening the knee joint and muscles
  • Improving balance, range of motion, and weight bearing.
  • Reduced pain and other symptoms
  • Enhanced mobility
  • Regaining normal knee function.
  • Enabling movement without the risk of injury.

Panther Creek UNC - Home of Superior Orthopedic Care

At the Orthopedic Surgery Center of Panther Creek, we provide high-quality orthopedic services to treat various orthopedic conditions. Our board-certified panthers orthopedic surgeons use advanced techniques and state-of-the-art technologies to ensure a proper diagnosis, treatment, and pain management.

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.

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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