The bones in your joints are covered with a special type of cartilage. This layer of tissue helps the joint bones glide together smoothly.
When this tissue is damaged, the bones may rub against each other. And that causes pain.
Cartilage doesn't heal easily on its own. The goal of treatment is to get your body to grow new cartilage in the damaged area. This is done by placing healthy cartilage cells into the area. Over time, the cells multiply and replace the damaged cartilage.
The knee is the most common area for this type of surgery. Other areas include the ankle and the shoulder.
You either will be asleep during the surgery or the area being worked on will be numb. Two common surgeries are:
These surgeries can be done in two ways:
You will need to wear a stiff brace for a short time. Then you will need crutches or a walker for a few months. Follow your doctor's instructions about how much weight you can put on the joint.
You will start doing exercises while you're still in the hospital. And you will need to do weeks or months of physical rehabilitation. Rehab will help strengthen the muscles of your joint and help you regain movement.
In time, most people are able to return to most of their normal activities, including sports.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: November 29, 2017
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Jeffrey N. Katz, MD - Rheumatology & Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
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