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As the nation’s #1 cause of disability, arthritis affects nearly 60 million adults and 300,000 children. Over 100 types of arthritis and related conditions damage the joints and often other organs.

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Exploring Choices for Your Joint Surgery Journey

August 14, 20232 min read

Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping up with exercise are essential in managing arthritis. But when these aren't enough, surgical interventions might be considered. To make an informed choice, it's beneficial to grasp the basics of frequent surgical treatments.

Arthroscopy: A minimally invasive method, using small tools and a camera, tailored for younger active individuals under 40. It can address tissue tears and cartilage issues but is not always recommended for certain knee problems.

Joint Resurfacing: Instead of replacing the whole joint, only a portion is replaced. It's potentially ideal for older individuals with single-compartment knee issues or younger, large-built men with demanding physical tasks or sports interests.

Osteotomy: This complex procedure, best suited for younger patients, entails adjusting bone near the affected joint to redistribute weight or correct early-life misalignments.

Synovectomy: Aimed at those with persistent inflammation despite medication, this method removes the inflamed joint lining. There are both open and arthroscopic versions, with the latter typically having fewer complications.

Arthrodesis (Fusion): This involves fusing bones together in certain joints, providing a permanent solution. However, it compromises joint movement and can result in stress on adjacent joints.

Total Joint Replacement (TJR): The entire damaged joint is replaced with a synthetic one, benefiting those with severe pain unrelieved by other means. While effective, these artificial joints can degrade over time.

Minimally Invasive TJR: A variant of TJR that uses smaller incisions and disrupts less muscle. Though promising a quicker recovery, it's technically challenging and best left to experienced surgeons.

Joint Revision: This is essentially a do-over for those with failed or worn implants. While it can provide relief, it's a more intricate operation than the first-time replacement.

Discussing these options with a healthcare professional will help determine the best route for you. Always seek a second opinion if you're unsure about a recommended procedure.


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Effects of Arthritis

Cause of Disability

In the United States, 23% of all adults, or more than 54 million people, have arthritis. It is a leading cause of work disability, with annual costs for medical care and lost earnings of $303.5 billion.

Workforce Effects

Sixty percent of US adults with arthritis are of working age (18 to 64 years). Arthritis can limit the type of work they are able to do or keep them from working at all.

Global Impact

In fact, 8 million working-age adults report that their ability to work is limited because of their arthritis. For example, they may have a hard time climbing stairs or walking from a parking deck to their workplace.

Promoting Interventions That Reduce Arthritis Pain

American Arthritis Foundation recognizes several proven approaches to reduce arthritis symptoms:

  • Be active. Physical activity—such as walking, bicycling, and swimming—decreases arthritis pain and improves function, mood, and quality of life. Adults with arthritis should move more and sit less throughout the day. Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week is recommended.

  • Protect your joints. People can help prevent osteoarthritis by avoiding activities that are more likely to cause joint injuries.

  • Talk with a doctor. Recommendations from health care providers can motivate people to be physically active and join a self-management education program. Should your arthritis be interfering with your activities of daily living you may be a candidate to receive many new treatments, and learn how to reverse the arthritis condition.

Learn more about Arthritis:

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