Joint preservation

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What is joint preservation?

Joint preservation is the use of non-surgical or surgical means to preserve a deteriorating joint to delay or avoid joint replacement surgery.

Joint preservation procedures reduce the risk of complications from implant surgery and infection.

When cartilage deteriorates due to osteoarthritis, it causes persistent joint pain that interferes with daily life. Our consultants will aim to restore normal movement and alleviate pain to the joint whether it’s a shoulder, hip, knee or ankle.

Knee osteotomy

This procedure preserves the joint by straightening the leg and is also known as knee realignment. A knee osteotomy takes pressure off the damaged side of the knee by dividing the bone, removing a wedge of bone, which realigns the limb so the leg is straight. This means the patient’s body weight is distributed evenly through the knee joint which relieves the pressure on damaged tissue and allows it to heal. The joint is preserved in the correct position which helps to avoid future problems.

Ankle joint distraction (arthrolysis)

What is distraction arthrolysis?

This innovative procedure can delay the need for ankle replacement and helps minimise any other arthritis in the joint. It involves fixing an external frame across the ankle joint which enables the ankle to be ‘distracted’ – or pulled apart by 5-8mm – during the procedure. There are hinges built into the frame which means the ankle has unrestricted movement. Usually the frame is worn for around 12 weeks which allows the tissues to regrow inside the ankle and then it is removed.

Comprehensive arthroscopic management of the shoulder (CAM)

This procedure is done for arthritic shoulders in young people to improve pain and stiffness as well as function and prevent or delay shoulder replacement.

Knee joint distraction (arthrolysis)

This innovative procedure can delay the need for a knee replacement operation and helps minimise any other arthritis in the joint. Joint distraction uses the body’s natural healing processes to repair damaged cartilage in the joint. During minimally invasive joint preservation surgery, the bones are gently pulled apart to create space and are fixed using pins and an external frame.

Rotator cuff surgery

Whilst this is not strictly joint preservation surgery, where osteoarthritis has developed, surgery may be required.

Thumb joint distraction

Thumb joint distraction is used to treat painful thumb osteoarthritis (OA). It can prevent or slow down the progression of OA by relieving stress on the cartilage. This prevents further wear and tear and allows the cartilage to recover.