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Frequently Asked Questions

Medicine and Procedures

Q: What is joint replacement surgery?
A: Joint replacement surgery is removing a damaged joint and putting in an artificial one made of plastic, metal and/or other materials. The entire joint doesn’t always need to be removed, just the damaged parts.

Replacing a joint can help you relieve pain and allow you to move and feel better. Joints that can be replaced include the shoulders, fingers, ankles, and elbows, but hips and knees are replaced most often.

Q: What happens in hip replacement surgery?
A: In hip replacement surgery, the diseased portion of the hip is removed and replaced with new, artificial parts called the prosthesis. The most common reason for the surgery is wearing down of the joint caused by osteoarthritis, but other conditions can contribute to joint disease as well.

If you have already tried walking ads and non-surgical therapies such as medication and physical therapy, hip replacement may be an option.

Q: What is a total knee replacement and how is it different from a partial knee replacement?
A: A total knee replacement involves removing the bone and all cartilage on the end of the thigh bone (femur) and top of the shin bone (tibia). Then, a metal and plastic knee implant is put in place to function as a new knee joint. Depending on the condition of the cartilage under the kneecap, the kneecap may also be replaced.

In a partial knee replacement, only the most damaged areas of the cartilage are removed and those surfaces replaced. It can be performed with a smaller incision and requires a shorter recovery time for those patients who can benefit from the procedure.

Q: What is the gender knee, or knee replacement for women?
A: The Gender Solutions™ High-Flex Knee was developed because women’s knees are different from men’s in size and shape. Unlike standard knee implants, which don’t fit approximately 20% of women, the gender knee takes into account those differences in bone structure. OALC patients who have qualified for the gender knee have experienced a better fit, faster recovery times and increased comfort. Learn more here.

Q: What is joint resurfacing?
A: Joint resurfacing is an attractive alternative to total joint replacement for some patients. It’s a more conservative approach that allows patients to conserve more of their natural bone.

At OALC, we utilize a method that allows patients under 60 to participate in more strenuous physical activity with an implant that is potentially longer-lasting and more stable than total hip replacements. Read more here.

Q: What are Supartz®, Orthovisc™ and similar knee injections?
A: Both are fluids that are injected directly into the affected knee joint to relieve or eliminate knee pain. They work by restoring lubrication and shock absorbing capabilities that have been weakened due to osteoarthritis.

Q: What other treatments are there for osteoarthritis?
A: Traditionally, treatments begin with over-the-counter pain relievers and the use of devices such as heating pads. Physical therapy and exercise can also be helpful, as can corticosteroid injections.

Q: What is the best way to care for my cast?
A: Download the Cast Care pdf

Q: What is sports medicine?
A: Read the paragraph on Procedures page

Q: What is arthroscopic surgery?
A: Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure used to help diagnose and repair joint problems primarily in the knee and shoulder. Read more here.