What is joint preservation surgery?
Joint preservation surgery covers a number of treatments that are an alternative option to joint replacement surgery. The aim of joint preservation surgery is to restore functionality to a joint so that it does not have to be replaced, or to delay the need to replace a joint. Joint preservation can be achieved through osteotomies (cuts to the bone) to allow the realignment of the joint.
Why would you need joint preservation surgery?
Joint preservation is usually required to address the problems caused by osteoarthritis. Although joint preservation cannot cure arthritis, it can help to relieve pain and discomfort. This form of treatment would be offered to those where non-surgical options have failed. Joint preservation is also more successful in patients who only experience joint pain in certain areas of the joint and the joint as a whole.
What does joint preservation surgery involve?
During the osteotomy procedure, two small incisions are made, through which a camera is passed to allow the surgeon to assess the damage. An incision is made above the tibia so that the bone can be cut, to allow the realignment of the knee so that the patient’s weight is transferred to the healthier side of the knee joint. The procedure takes up to two hours.
After joint preservation surgery, patients usually stay in hospital for 2-4 days. Afterwards, crutches are needed for up to 6 weeks. After two weeks, certain movements can be carried out to restore range of movement and muscle strength. Intense, physical activities can be resumed 4-6 months after surgery.