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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


1) What is minimally invasive surgery, and how does it compare to other surgical techniques?

2) What is total joint replacement, and when is it recommended?

3) What are common sports medicine injuries and treatments?

4) What is computer-assisted surgery?

5) What is cartilage, and what is its role in joint function?

1) What is minimally invasive surgery, and how does it compare to other surgical techniques?

Minimally invasive surgical techniques are the product of advances in orthopedics over the past few decades. Many minimally invasive surgical procedures use arthroscopic technology, which utilizes a fiber optic camera to provide a view from within the joint during the procedure. This fiber optic camera (arthroscope), along with miniature surgical instruments, can be inserted through smaller incisions than those required by traditional open surgery.

Due to the smaller incisions and more precise surgical procedures, minimally invasive surgical techniques can potentially provide patients with several benefits, including reduction in amounts of tissue damage, scarring, blood loss, and length of post-surgical recovery period.

2) What is total joint replacement, and when is it recommended?

Total joint replacement is the complete surgical removal of an affected joint, and its replacement with a medical implant that mimics the natural function of the replaced joint. Total joint replacements are often performed to treat the chronic pain and loss of function resulting from severe arthritis, and accordingly, the weight-bearing joints of the hip and knee are the most commonly replaced.

In a total hip replacement, the femoral head of the thighbone is removed and replaced with a metal ball mounted on a stem, which is inserted into the femur. The damaged area of the acetabulum (hip socket) is shaved and capped with an implant that, when combined with the prosthetic femoral head, creates an artificial ball-and-socket hip joint.

In a total knee replacement, new components are mounted upon the reshaped bones of the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone). These components replace the bone and cartilage of a knee damaged by arthritis.

3) What are common sports medicine injuries and treatments?

Spots medicine is a branch of orthopedics that emphasizes the treatment of injuries commonly incurred during athletic activity. Common sports injuries include knee injuries (ACL / MCL tears, meniscus tears) and shoulder injuries (rotator cuff tears, labral tears). Although common occurrences in athletics, these injuries can also result from traumatic events, such as a fall, or occupational overexertion.

Depending on the severity of the injury and the activity level of the patient, sports injuries can be treated through conservative, non-surgical methods, such as physical therapy and medications, or surgically, usually through arthroscopic means. The benefits of minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery often allow athletes to quickly return to the playing field.

4) What is computer-assisted surgery?

Computer-assisted surgery is a recent advancement in joint replacement techniques that increases the precision of a surgical procedure through the use of computer technology. Prior to the day of the procedure, imaging technology, such as ultrasounds, MRIs, and CT Scans, is utilized in the creation of a computer model of the affected joint. This model guides the surgeon in the more accurate alignment of the joint implant.

The increased precision in the alignment of the implant often provides the patient with a more stable, better functioning, and longer lasting replacement joint, while reducing the need for revision surgery.

5) What is cartilage, and what is its role in joint function?

Most notable in the nose and ears, cartilage is a flexible, connective tissue found throughout the body. Cartilage is instrumental in cushioning joints and reducing the friction between moving bones. Damage to the cartilage of a joint often leads to bone-on-bone contact, resulting in pain and a decrease in joint function.

Cartilage does not contain blood vessels, and is therefore non-regenerative. However, recent advances in medicine have developed an innovative field that attempts to grow a patient's cartilage cells in a lab environment. These cell cultures can then be transplanted into the affected joint in an attempt to treat cartilage damage.

Sports Medicine Specialists in Fruitland, ID

Saint Alphonsus Medical Group – Riverside Orthopedics boasts two Board-certified orthopedic surgeons specially trained in Sports Medicine. Dr. John D. Foote and Dr. Richard T. Davis utilize the latest technological innovations in orthopedic treatment in the care of their patients. Serving the Treasure Valley of Western Oregon and Eastern Idaho, contact Saint Alphonsus Medical Group – Riverside Orthopedics' Fruitland, ID office at (208) 452-8100 to schedule an appointment.