Orthopedic Surgery

Posted on

Jan 13, 2011

Book/Edition

Colorado - Colorado Springs

Sooner or later, seniors face the possibility of seeking medical treatment for orthopedic ailments. The good news is orthopedic degeneration is usually a slow process. For most people, there is not a window of time that quickly closes to be eligible for surgery so other options to surgery are often available to help.
There are many things that can be done, short of surgery, to alleviate pain and increase function such as: moist heat, cold therapy, pain medication, injections and physical therapy. An orthopedic surgeon is the perfect resource to evaluate the orthopedic condition, establish the patients goal for treatment, and develop a treatment plan that will work with the patients current condition.
However, it is time to consider orthopedic surgery when the condition begins to interfere with daily activities. The majority of orthopedic procedures performed on senior patients are usually hip, knee and rotator cuff surgery. Surgical options leading up to and including total joint replacement can be wonderful for all the right reasons. Surgery can help seniors hang on to their independence and to be able to stay in their own home for as long as possible instead of having to move into assisted living environments.
Should you need surgery, it is important to research surgeon options and select the surgeon with which you are most comfortable. Thoroughly discuss the surgical procedures, from pre-surgery through rehabilitation. Ask any question you need to feel comfortable with the entire joint replacement process.
Proper and thorough planning can significantly increase the outcome of joint replacement surgery. Do what you can to prepare yourself physically for the surgery. Diet and exercise is as important before as it is after the surgery. Patients do better when they are motivated to properly exercise and diet prior to surgery. Be sure to participate in joint replacement classes prior to surgery to insure better outcomes from your surgery.
Other factors that can affect the outcome of orthopedic surgery are smoking and diabetes. People who smoke do not experience the same recovery time as non-smokers because nicotine directly interferes with soft tissue and bone healing. Additionally, it is important for people with diabetes to have their blood sugars stabilized prior to surgery to avoid potential complications.

Editors Note: Dr. Bruce Taylor is an orthopedic surgeon with the St. Mary-Corwin Physician Partners Orthopedics Group and contributed to this article. The goal of the SMC Physician Partners orthopedic group is to serve as a resource to work with patients and identify options for good orthopedic health. Call (719) 562-6254 for more information.

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