The world of orthopedic medicine involves many issues with the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system comprises our muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and other supportive structures. Doctors who treat musculoskeletal issues are known as orthopedists.
As we have 206 bones, approximately 4,000 tendons, 900 ligaments, and 600 muscles in the adult body, the field of orthopedics is indeed vast. Plus, the various types of physicians in this field focus on many subspecialties within orthopedics. A subspecialty, in this case, is when an orthopedic doctor specializes even further, such as hand and arm issues, spinal problems, sports medicine, or joint replacement surgery.
If you have severe or chronic joint pain, and you are wondering how to determine which doctor would be the best for you, consider only the orthopedic surgeons who regularly perform the type of orthopedic surgery you need.
What Types of Surgery Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Perform?
In general, the number of orthopedic surgeries is endless. Let’s take a look at each of the main types of procedures orthopedic surgeons can perform:
Total Joint Replacement
Most adults develop joint pain of some kind as we get older. The most common joints affected by aging are the hip, knee, and shoulder. Most of these problems are related to overuse injuries affecting the cartilage, tendons, or ligaments, especially in osteoarthritis – also called wear-and-tear arthritis, or just “arthritis.” Arthritis is the most common reason why a patient would need a joint replacement.
Many joints in the body can be replaced with a prosthetic (artificial) joint made of various types of bio-grade metal and plastic. If your internal medicine doctor has told you that you likely have arthritis, and the pain is becoming unbearable and is interfering with your lifestyle, then you will want to seek an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in joint replacement surgery.
This relatively quick procedure allows the surgeon to look inside the joint and, hopefully, be able to fix minor problems – such as removing tiny bone fragments which might be causing joint pain or addressing a tear of the meniscus in the knee. Arthroscopic surgery is most often used on the knee but can be used for the shoulder and many other joints too.
The procedure for surgical repair of a fracture involves pins, plates, and screws, or other special devices. Sometimes, the fracture is very severe and requires bone grafting, in which case your surgeon may take a small section of healthy bone from elsewhere in your body and insert it into the injured area. This is done to facilitate natural healing of the bone tissue.
There are two main types of fracture repair: One involves placing the hardware internally, and the other which needs external hardware to hold the bone into place as it heals. Both of these types of surgery require the hardware to keep the broken bones in the correct anatomical place. Severe fractures may require external fixation.
A fusion is the natural process of facilitating two adjacent bones to fuse as one single bone. The surgery is done to hold the two bone fragments together, and they will heal together as one over time.
This orthopedic surgery is usually performed on the spine, and it is most often done in order to correct issues like a herniated or “slipped” disc (the rubbery pad between two adjacent vertebrae), spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the space in the vertebrae which house the spinal cord), and other orthopedic conditions which may result in pain if not corrected.
Orthopedic Surgery in Raleigh and the Triangle
Each orthopedic surgeon will generally focus on only one or two particular areas of the body or types of treatment. Therefore, an orthopedic surgeon who focuses on the knee and hip will be able to provide exceptional medical care for patients who need a knee replacement, hip replacement, joint revision surgery for those joints, and even minimally invasive arthroscopy to conduct minor internal joint repairs.
Dr. Brett Gilbert is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who focuses his practice on treating problems of the knee and hip. He specializes in the following conditions:
- Hip and knee arthritis
- Total joint replacement of the hip or knee
- Osteonecrosis (bone degradation due to a loss of blood flow to the bone tissue)
- Correcting failed hip and knee replacements (revision joint replacement)
- Meniscus tears (cartilage damage in the knee)
- Other orthopedic treatments for the hip and knee
Dr. Gilbert is also available to give you a second opinion if you are questioning the diagnosis or treatment recommended by another physician.
We have three convenient locations in the Raleigh area, including offices in Raleigh, Apex, and Brier Creek. We even offer telemedicine visits for your convenience.
Don’t suffer with your knee or hip condition any longer. Call us today at (919) 788-8797 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gilbert. You may also use our appointment request form online. We look forward to helping you get back to the active lifestyle you love!