The right questions to ask your Orthopedic Surgeon…

January 7, 2013

Most patients who visit their orthopedic surgeons or podiatrists are not as well informed about their options as they should be. Often, patients will receive a total joint replacement and are told AFTER the surgery they will not be able to lift more than 20lbs (i.e. picking up  their children) or that they no longer have an ACL, which provides natural movement in the knee. Arthrosurface helps maintain the patient’s natural anatomy and lets them resume full activity!  Arthrosurface may or may not be right for you, however, patients should be informed about all of their options before making a decision on a procedure they know little about.

Below are some questions patients SHOULD be asking their surgeons:

  • Will my joint feel and move naturally after you do the surgery?
  • Will you remove my ACL?
  • Will you remove the head of my shoulder bone to put in the “prosthesis”
  • Will you remove the “labrum” in my shoulder to put in an implant?
  • Is my cartilage damage localized?
  • Is the alignment of my joint close to normal?
  • Is my joint unstable?
  • Do I have any joint space remaining?
  • How long will I be hospitalized?
  • Can the procedure be performed on an outpatient basis?
  • Will the recovery take weeks or months?
  • Can I go back to all my previous sports and activities?
  • Will I be able to lift weights and if so how much?

With the Arthrosurface Joint Restoration System, the surgeon only resurfaces the damaged area, similar to the way a dentist fills in a cavity, leaving the rest of the structures in your joint intact. This way, your native anatomy is preserved. The exposed and painful bone is covered while all the structures in your joint help you move and function properly are left in place. For example, if you received an Arthrosurface knee implant, your ACL and PCL would NOT be touched or removed, thereby allowing you to have a knee that feels normal but pain free.

There is a significant group of people with early joint disease and cartilage damage that have failed treatments such as physio therapy, pain medication, injections, arthroscopy and grafts who continue to experience pain and reduced activity levels. These people are younger, physically active and have lifestyles that don’t permit significant downtime. They are looking for treatments that are quick, will help them stay active and have an accelerated rehab regimen. The surgical procedure for the HemiCAP implant can be performed on an outpatient basis, with less morbidity than a joint replacement and a post op rehab program that allows a quicker recovery to full mobility.

In orthopaedics, patients are normally considered too old for “biologic” treatments if they are over 40 years old but too young for a joint replacement if they are under 65 years old. If you are between 40 and 65 you now have a new option, Arthrosurface.

The HemiCAP implant is intended to offer a surgical alternative for patients who might otherwise endure years of pain and loss of function while waiting for a more appropriate age for joint replacement surgery.

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36 responses to “The right questions to ask your Orthopedic Surgeon…”

  1. ruthmiller008 says:

    Hi, there are several questions to ask like what would be the cost for surgery? How many days it will take to walk again after surgery? Etc. Mostly a patient want is a good doctor, less expense and quick recovery.

  2. Hi Ruth,
    You are absolutely right. The questions above are only some of the questions you should be asking your orthopaedic surgeon. However, there are more questions such as, what is the recovery time? that patients may want to ask as well. The average recovery time of an Arthrosurface patient is 60-90 days. Also, depending on the procedure, we have had patients up and walking the day after surgery. You can see Jack here was back home and walking less than 24 hours after his surgery.
    Thank you!

  3. Thanks for sharing this precious information. I like your concern in the post which is very useful for me. Thanks.

  4. Lou says:

    I red your post on the HemiCAP procedure.
    I am a retired veteran 66 years old, and in exceptionally good health, but have dislocated my right shoulder several times, and now they want to do a total shoulder replacement. The orthopedic Dr. said when I could no longer stand the pain, come back and he would do the replacement. After a few questions, he said the things that I now enjoy doing, will be severely limited because of the amount of weight I would be able to lift and or move!
    After some research I found this information on the HemiCAP procedure, but am unable to find anyone in my local area that is totally familiar with this procedure (Chattanooga TN) how do I go about locating someone in Tennessee or surrounding area with out an extreme referral process?

  5. Mohammed riyaz aldin says:

    Hi i am mohammed riyaz,i felt in accident of fingertip fracture(left hand) below the nain tip(finger next to thumb).almost my fingertip was cut off in 3/4 and stiches done properly including alignment.after 3 weeks stiches removed and taken x-rays we found bone calcium is forming in between the gaps.
    but when i am walking sometimes i feel small amount of itching pain in fractured finger area also when regurlarly functioning my thumb.
    Could you please give some suggestions to this related topic.

  6. kazem says:

    Hi this is my MRI Report
    My right knee injured 5 weeks ago
    and I Immediately Fixing that and Walking with a cane for 3 weeks.
    and go to Physiotherapy for 2 weeks daily.
    i Feel little pain when bending down from behind In hamstring and groin

    please more Explain to me Is there a problem and Should I Be Concerned?
    Can i Do sport After This with High intensity?
    (wrestling ,running , volleyball…)
    Please Help Me What should I do?

    Right Knee Joint MRI:

    Medial and lateral menisci have normal shape and signal intensities.

    There is subtle increased T2W & TRIM SI of ACL suspicious for sprain.

    PCL , MCL , LCL and patellar tendon appear normal.

    Visualized bones and muscles have normal signal intensities.

    There is extra-articular edema and moderate knee joint effusion

  7. Scott says:

    I like that you suggest to ask if the recovery will take weeks or months. I can see why this would be a good way of getting an estimated time of recovery. My friend has an consultation with a surgeon about his knee that keeps giving out while playing basketball. I’ll have to make sure he asks this when goes in.

  8. PkR says:

    I am not seeing many posts regarding the patella resurfacing. I am to have surgery in 2 weeks for a necrotic lesion behind my right knee cap. All other aspects of my knee and joint are non remarkable according to the MRI. How have patients faired with just the knee cap surgery? I have read horrific stories regarding pain a year post op. I would like to have some reassurance. Thank you.

  9. Sarah Smith says:

    My sister recently hurt her shoulder and now needs to get surgery. I appreciate the advice about how you should ask is they are going to remove the labrum in your shoulder. Something else to do is to find a surgeon that you like and are comfortable with. That way, you are more willing to trust them and follow their advice.

  10. My husband might be needing some surgery on his knee. We want to make sure we are able to find the right surgeon and ask the right questions in order to ensure that it will be a smooth surgery. I appreciate the questions that you presented, especially the one about whether or not the cartilage damage is localized. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I love what you said about how patients should be informed about all of their possible options before making a decision on a type of surgery. I’ve heard, too, that some orthopedic surgeons will give you all of your options, and then suggest which of those options may be optimal for your specific situation and circumstances. I’ll be sure to remember these important questions as I get ready to see a surgeon to help me get my shoulder back to full functioning capability.

  12. Mimi Reyneke says:

    I had a plate and screws put into my left wrist after a fall three weeks ago. I noticed now that they gave me a right hand brace. Would this make a difference as to how the bone will heal? I’m really concerned.

  13. Can says:
    ,I had a accident 2017,I have broken my back l4.but x-ray didn’t show fracture,I didn’t realize fracture 2 months..when I went to physiterapist , when I did exercise and when I lift something,I felt pain my lower physiotherapist said ,it is not upper back according to me your problem is lower back so she said , lower back affected your upper back and neck and shoulder.i took an MRI and my physiotherapist was right,lthe main problem was the lower back region.usully I felt pain in the upper back , shoulder and neck region .yes I had pain lower back but not up to the upper back region.
    I want to learn that, the lower back region can effect the uper back ,neck and shoulders.
    Can guney

    • arthrosurface says:

      Hi Can, we are sorry to hear about your continued pain. You should reach out to your local doctor about any questions you have about your specific back pain. We hope you find some relief, good luck!

  14. NB says:

    My 19 year old son have ACL tear in right knee. it happened during this summer but he needed to get back to college so will get his surgery done in December when he is home for 3 weeks.
    What kind of graft are good choice to have? He is leaning towards his Hamstring graft.
    Also, is it better to get Prehab therapy?
    Does age matter in getting the mobility back? He will get surgery right after coming home so he will have 3 weeks to recover, is that sufficient time so he can walk in college in cold weather?

  15. Debora says:

    Hey, so I had my surgery in June 29th so about 3 months again and I was started to walk and get better and not limping but today I slipped and fell and landed on my bad knee and I heard a crack, and after the fall I began to limp and my knee is swelling , so my question is did I tear my cal again or is just the trauma from the fall and will it go away?

  16. I thought it was great how the article said that you should ask your orthopedic surgeons how long you will be hospitalized and if the recovery will take weeks or months. My mother was by herself in her home, fell down, and tore her ACL a few weeks ago and she has been thinking about going into an orthopedic surgeon to get it repaired. It would be good for her to also find a reputable place where she can go for rehabilitation after the surgery.

  17. Thank you for telling us to ask in advance for how many days I will hospitalize? You Should confirm such things in advance to avoid any kind of later problems.

  18. Thanks for the tip to ask about the length of our recovery. My husband needs to have orthopedic surgery soon. Asking your suggested questions should help him find a knowledgable surgeon for the procedure.

  19. I love how you said to ask if your joint is unstable because that’ll be helpful in understanding the surgery. It’s important that you understand what’s going to be done and why. It eases a lot of stress that way.

  20. I like that you list some important questions such as how long will recovery take, and how long will I be hospitalized. My husband’s mom has been having a lot of leg pain recently and they think she might need to have her hip replaced. I think she should find an orthopedic surgeon that can tell her what is needed and that can answer any questions she may have about her condition or the procedure.

  21. My younger sister damaged her ACL playing competitive soccer last week, and she may need to find an orthopedic surgeon. It is good to know that when choosing a surgeon my sister should ask them if her knee joint will be able to move and feel natural after surgery. This way she can have some idea of what to expect during the recovery process.

  22. Alicia Byrne says:

    I like how you mentioned that we should ask our orthopedic surgeon about recovery time. I would imagine it to be very important especially for someone who is considering their return back to work in the future. My son has a tear in his knee after playing football the other day. I will definitely ask the questions about recovery when I find a knee surgeon for him.

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