The Orthopaedic Specialist in Pretoria Providing Surgical Relief for Joint Pain
Never before has the incidence of joint pain been as high as it is today. More prevalent among women, it tends to occur most commonly in the back, shoulders, hips, and knees, although it can also affect the neck, elbows, wrists, hands, ankles, and toes. For those who are referred to the specialist unit at the Life Wilgers Hospital in Pretoria, a skilled orthopaedic team is helping to bring relief to those beset by the often debilitating effects of swollen, painful joints.
Over the years, the centre has earned an enviable reputation that has seen it drawing a growing number of referrals, not only from all around South Africa, but also from several overseas countries. So, what sort of conditions does the team treat and what form do the treatments take?
The most common cause of progressive joint pain is osteoarthritis. The discomfort and swelling is the result of friction between the exposed articulating surfaces of bones, following the erosion of their protective layer of cartilage. Without this protection, the resulting grinding action results in physical damage to the bones, causing pain. An orthopaedic specialist in Pretoria or any major city might begin with a physical examination and X-rays, and may then be prompted to conduct an arthroscopic examination of the affected joint, most commonly the knee, in order to confirm a diagnosis of osteoarthritis or to identify some other explanation for the pain.
The arthroscope has become indispensable to the joint surgeon since it was first introduced in 1919 and has graduated from being just a convenient diagnostic tool, to one used to perform minimally-invasive keyhole surgery on a damaged joint. Often, the diagnostic and treatment steps can be incorporated into a single procedure that saves time, reduces trauma, and shortens the recovery time. Expertise and vast experience in the use of diagnostic and surgical arthroscopy are just two good reasons to choose this specialist orthopaedic unit in Pretoria when suffering from a joint problem.
While it is a relatively simple matter to treat a torn meniscus or a misaligned patella, or to repair a damaged ligament or remove loose fragments of bone and cartilage using an arthroscopic procedure, there are times when only a more radical procedure can offer the necessary relief. Generally, this will become necessary in cases of osteoarthritis in which the damage to the bone has become so severe that the mobility of the joint is impaired and the pain can no longer be managed by treatment with analgaesic medications or steroid injections. When this is the case, an orthopaedic specialist at the Pretoria hospital will typically recommend that the patient agrees to undergo arthroplasty.
The term refers to a surgical procedure in which all or part of the joint, such as the hip or the knee, is replaced with a suitable prosthesis in order to eliminate the pain and restore mobility. Over the years, the design of these prosthetic joints and the materials from which they are made have improved vastly to the point that partial and total replacements of damaged joints are now considered to be the most successful of all orthopaedic procedures conducted by orthopaedic specialists in Pretoria and worldwide.
In the case of the knee, for example, there are three compartments involved in the articulation. Where damage is only present in one compartment, a partial replacement could be adequate and will often be performed in an outpatient setting. Where the damage extends to two or more compartments, however, only a total joint replacement will be effective. This will require hospitalisation coupled with more time to recover from the surgery and gain its full benefit.
The orthopaedic specialists who man this Pretoria facility are well-qualified, have exceptional skills gained from experience, and are dedicated to providing superior patient care in their quest to relieve joint pain, restore mobility, and improve quality of life.