Advances in medical technology and equipment have completely changed the way orthopedic surgeries are now performed. Minimally invasive surgeries have now replaced the traditional open surgeries that were performed earlier using larger incisions and having prolonged recovery periods.
In recent years, minimally invasive surgeries have helped orthopedic surgeons to perform difficult procedures using smaller incisions with reduced complications and quicker recovery times.
In this article, we will be discussing in detail the different advances made in minimally invasive orthopedic surgeries and the benefits of these procedures.
What is Minimally Invasive Orthopedic Surgery?
A minimally invasive orthopedic surgery is a type of surgical procedure involving the use of small incisions, specialized tools, and a camera to perform surgery for correcting or treating a bone or joint deformity such that there is minimal or no damage to the surrounding tissues.
Advances in Minimally Invasive Orthopedic Surgeries
Orthopedic surgery has shown many advancements over the last few years, with minimally invasive surgery being the most important advancement that has helped in improving treatment results, decreasing recovery period, and reducing surgical risks. The most common advancements in orthopedic surgeries are as follows:
- Arthroscopic surgery: This is a minimally invasive type of surgery that involves the insertion of cameras and instruments through small incisions made by the surgeon to view and treat joint problems with precision. It is used to diagnose and treat conditions like arthritis, loose foreign bodies, and torn cartilage. Further advancements in this arthroscopy surgery include the following:
- Computer-assisted surgery: This procedure involves the use of a computer to create a three-dimensional model of the patient’s treatment area and using a computer-guided device to carry out the procedure accurately.
- Robotic-assisted surgery: This type of surgery is performed using a robotic arm that is operated by the orthopedic surgeon through a joystick by viewing the operation site through the video screen that is attached to the camera inserted inside the patient. The use of a robotic arm makes the procedure more accurate and can help in treating complex cases like joint replacement surgeries and spine surgeries.
- 3D printing: Orthopedic surgeons can now make customized surgical guides and joint implants ensuring the perfect alignment and fit for a particular patient. This advanced technology helps in many types of complex cases like limb or pelvic reconstructions, where standardized implants may not work.
- Improved anesthesia techniques: Advanced anesthesia techniques like epidurals and nerve blocks (regional anesthesia methods) help in pain control with minimal side effects. This ensures a shorter hospital stay and quicker mobilization following surgery.
- Navigation systems: Computer-assisted navigation helps in improving the placement and alignment of implants in case of hip, knee, or spine surgery. This decreases the risk of developing complications and the need to undergo revision surgery.
- Bone augmentation: Certain biological methods like stem cell therapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and the use of growth factors used in orthopedic surgeries help in stimulating tissue regeneration and improving the natural healing process and recovery.
- Injectable bone cement: Bone cement helps in securing joint implants or stabilization of bone fractures. Injectable bone cements are now available with improved properties like better adhesion, quick setting, improved stability, improved long-term results, and decreased risk of loosening of implants.
- Patient rehabilitation: Each patient is prepared mentally and physically before undergoing orthopedic surgery. This involves patient-specific exercises and education to improve the patient’s health and fitness, leading to improved treatment results and a quicker recovery.
- Remote monitoring: Post-surgery care by follow-up appointments and consultations via telehealth or video calling from the comfort of the patient’s home helps in checking the recovery process without the need for in-person doctor visits.
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Orthopedic Surgeries
Minimally invasive orthopedic surgeries offer several benefits to the patient compared to traditional open surgery. The advantages of a minimally invasive surgery are as follows:
- Reduced postoperative pain: Since a minimally invasive surgery involves making smaller incisions and less damage to the surrounding healthy tissues, patients usually have less pain during, as well as after the surgery.
- Smaller incisions and less scarring: The procedure requires only tiny incisions. This ensures a quicker recovery and less scarring.
- Quicker recovery time: Since a minimally invasive surgery causes less tissue damage, patients can usually resume their daily activities quickly compared to patients undergoing open surgery.
- Reduced hospital stay: Patients who undergo a minimally invasive surgery usually need a shorter hospital stay compared to patients who undergo traditional open surgery.
- Decreased risk of complications: There is a lesser chance of developing complications like excessive bleeding, infection, or damage to the surrounding tissues when undergoing a minimally invasive surgery.
Minimally invasive orthopedic surgeries are continuously undergoing advancements with regard to technologies and equipment being used for the procedures. These advances help in improving the patient’s treatment experience and also make orthopedic surgeries more effective and safer with good long-term results. As medical technologies continue to see growth, we can expect more breakthroughs in the years to come for patients suffering from bone and joint problems.