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Have questions regarding orthopedics or the care and services we offer at Advanced Orthopedics of Oklahoma? Use our helpful directory below to get answers to commonly asked questions.

GENERAL ORTHOPEDICS

What is orthopedics?

Orthopedics (alternatively, orthopaedics) is a medical specialty focused on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions, disorders, and injuries of the muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. A doctor who specializes in this medical specialty is called an orthopedic (alternatively, orthopaedic) surgeon.

What is arthritis?

The word arthritis literally means “joint inflammation.” Arthritis refers to a group of more than 100 rheumatic diseases and other conditions that cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that damages the lining surrounding our joints while also destroying our bones, tissue, and joints over time. Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that slowly damages the cartilage surrounding the ends of bones and is common in the hip, knee, or spine.

What is bursitis?

Bursitis is an inflammation or irritation of a bursa, which is a fluid-filled sac located around joints. Bursitis causes a reduction in or a loss of motion at the affected joint. Bursitis typically occurs in the heel, hip, knee, shoulder, or thumb.

What is cartilage?

Cartilage is a soft, rubbery, gel-like coating on the ends of bones, where they articulate, that protects joints and facilitates movement.

What is a ligament?

A ligament is an elastic band of tissue that connects bone to bone and provides stability to the joint.

What is a tendon?

A tendon is a band of tissue that connects muscle to bone.

What is tendonitis?

Tendonitis, medically known as tendinitis, is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon. Chronic strain, overuse or misuse of a tendon leading to a repetitive stress injury, or a serious acute injury can lead to a weakness, tear, or swelling of the tendon tissue, resulting in pain and stiffness near the tendon. Tendonitis usually occurs in the elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, thumb, or wrist, but can occur anywhere there is a tendon.

Should I use ice on my injury? Should I use heat on my injury?

The general rule of thumb is to use ice in the acute stage of an injury (within the first 24-48 hours), or whenever swelling is showing. Ice helps to reduce inflammation and swelling by decreasing blood flow to the area that is injured. The general guideline is to apply ice indirectly (not directly on the skin) for 20 minutes, remove the ice for at least 20 minutes, and repeat as necessary.

Heat is used to increase blood flow, which helps promote pain relief after inflammation and swelling subside. Heat is also used to assist in warming muscles up prior to exercise, any physical activity, or physical therapy.

ORTHOPEDICS SPECIALISTS

What is an orthopedic doctor? What is an orthopedic surgeon?

An orthopedic doctor, also known as an orthopedist, is a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathy (DO) who specializes in the musculoskeletal system—bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves.

Orthopedic surgeons are specialized in the musculoskeletal system; many orthopedists specialize in certain areas of the body, such as foot and ankle, hand and wrist, or back, neck, and spine. Additionally, orthopedic doctors may focus on a specific field of orthopedics, like pediatrics, sports medicine, or trauma.

What is the educational training of an orthopedic surgeon?

Board-certified orthopedic surgeons have successfully completed a minimum of 13 years of formal education:

  • Undergraduate: Four years of study in a college or university
  • Medical School: Four years of study in a school of medicine
  • Orthopedic Residency: Five years of study at a major medical institution
  • Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained Orthopedic Surgeons Have Completed:
    • Undergraduate: Four years of study in a college or university
    • Medical School: Four years of study in a school of medicine
    • Orthopedic Residency: Five years of study at a major medical institution
  • Fellowship Training: One year of specialized education in an accredited fellowship program

All orthopedic surgeons continue their medical education yearly to stay current in orthopedic knowledge and skills.

What is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon?

Once a doctor has completed an orthopedic residency at a major medical institution, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery offers a written test to become board-eligible. If the written test is passed, the doctor becomes “eligible” to take the oral test, after two years in practice. When the doctor passes the oral exam, the doctor becomes “board-certified” and is considered a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

The intent of the certification process, as defined by the board members of the American Board of Medical Specialties, is to provide assurance to the public that a certified medical specialist has successfully completed an approved educational program and an evaluation, including an examination process designed to assess the knowledge, experience, and skills requisite to the provision of high-quality patient care in that specialty.

What is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon?

A fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon is a doctor who has completed a minimum of 13 years of education and has completed an additional year of specialty training in a specific field of orthopedic surgery in an accredited fellowship program. There are fellowships in several areas of orthopedics: foot and ankle, hand and wrist, and back, neck and spine. Additionally, orthopedic surgeons may focus on a specific field of orthopedics, like pediatrics, sports medicine, or trauma.

What is a primary care sports medicine doctor?

A primary care sports medicine doctor is a leader in the field of sports medicine. Either through advanced fellowship training or through years of clinical experience, a primary care sports medicine doctor has learned the skills to take care of athletes of all ages, sports, and levels of competition. Primary care sports medicine doctors often serve as team doctors to professional sports teams or are personal doctors to elite level athletes.

What is a physician assistant?

A physician assistant, commonly referred to as a PA, is a healthcare professional licensed to practice medicine with doctor supervision. Physician assistants can treat patients and write prescriptions. PAs are trained to recognize when patients need the attention of a supervising doctor or specialist. Physician assistants see patients in the office as well as assist the doctors in surgery.

What is a physical therapist?

Physical therapists (PTs) are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility – in many cases without surgery and often reducing the need for long-term use of prescription medications and their side effects. PTs can teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits.

What is an athletic trainer?

An athletic trainer is a certified healthcare professional who collaborates with doctors within the sports medicine field. They are trained in preventing, recognizing, managing, and rehabilitating sports-related injuries and conditions.

TEST & TREATMENT DEFINITIONS

What is arthroscopic surgery?

Arthroscopic surgery is a surgical procedure that is commonly performed to diagnose and treat problems within the joint. By using high-tech cameras, the orthopedic surgeon inserts a small instrument, called an arthroscope, into the joint.

The arthroscope contains a fiber optic light source and small television camera that allow the surgeon to view the joint on a television monitor and diagnose the problem, determine the extent of injury, and make any necessary repairs.

What is a bone density scan?

A bone density test is used to diagnosis osteoporosis, which is a disease that causes weakening of the bones that can ultimately result in fractures. In the past, osteoporosis could only be detected after a person’s bone broke; however, by using a bone density test, it is possible to know one’s individual risk of breaking bones before one breaks.

A bone density test uses X-rays to measure the amount of calcium and other bone mineral packed into the segment of bone. Common areas that are tested using a bone density scan include the spine, hip, and forearm.

What is a cortisone injection?

Corticosteroids, more commonly referred to as, cortisone, is a steroid that is produced in the body naturally. Synthetically produced cortisone can also be injected into soft tissues and joints to help decrease inflammation.

While cortisone is not a pain reliever, pain may diminish as a result of reduced inflammation. In orthopedics, cortisone injections are commonly used as a treatment for chronic conditions such as bursitis, tendonitis (medically referred to as tendinitis), and arthritis to reduce swelling, pain, and joint stiffness.

What is a CT scan?

A computed tomography (CT) scan, also known as CAT scan, produces images that are similar in detail and in quality to an MRI; however, the CT scan takes a 360-degree picture of internal organs and the spine and vertebrae. CT scans provide cross-sectional views of the body and provide clearer imaging than an MRI.

What is an epidural?

An epidural is a steroid injection used to help decrease the inflammation of spinal nerves to help relieve pain in the neck, back, arms, and legs from conditions such as herniated disks, spinal stenosis, and radiculopathy. Cortisone is injected directly into the spinal canal, and some patients only need one injection to relieve pain; however, it normally requires two or three injections to provide significant pain relief.

What is a fusion?

A fusion is a procedure in which bones are fused together with bone grafts and internal devices (such as metal rods and screws) to heal into a single solid bone.

What is internal fixation?

Internal fixation is a treatment to hold pieces of a broken bone in the correct position with metal plates, pins, or screws while the bone is healing.

What is joint replacement surgery?

Joint replacement surgery is a surgical procedure that is performed to replace an arthritic or damaged joint with a new, artificial joint, called a prosthesis. Joint replacements can be performed on every joint in the body, but are most commonly performed in the knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow.

Joints contain cartilage, a soft, rubbery gel-like coating on the ends of bones, where they articulate, that protects joints and facilitates movement and over time, or if the joint has been injured, the cartilage wears away and the bones of the joint start rubbing together. As the bones rub together, bone spurs may form, and the joint becomes stiff and painful. Most people have joint replacement surgery when they can no longer control the pain with medication and other treatments and the pain is significantly interfering with their lives.

What is an X-ray?

An X-ray is a procedure performed that uses a safe form of radiation to provide a two-dimensional picture of your body to use as a screening tool to evaluate for causes of many common disorders, such as bone breaks, joint and spine injuries or conditions, and arthritis or osteoporosis.

What is an MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, commonly referred to as an MRI, is an advanced technology that uses magnetic fields and radio waves (like microwaves and the AM and FM bands on your radio) to visualize the inner workings of the body.

The pictures produced by MRI help the radiologist clearly and accurately detect and define the differences between healthy and diseased tissues, especially in the soft tissues. It can reveal many health problems at their earliest, most treatable stages.

What are NSAIDS?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are non-prescription, over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. They are popular treatments for muscular aches and pains, as well as arthritis and help in reducing swelling, pain, and joint stiffness.

What is osteotomy?

Osteotomy is a procedure to correct bone deformity by cutting and repositioning the bone.

What is outpatient surgery?

An outpatient surgery is a surgery that does not require the patient to stay in the hospital overnight; it is commonly known as an ambulatory surgery. Outpatient surgery has grown in popularity due to the improvement in technology.

What is soft tissue repair?

Soft tissue repair is a treatment to mend or fix soft tissues, such as tendons or ligaments.

What is the difference between physical therapy and certified hand therapy?

Our staff of certified hand therapy specialists has extensive training in injuries and rehabilitation of elbow, wrist and hand disorders. Because of the complexity of upper extremity function, treatment often requires very specific techniques and treatments that our certified hand therapists specialize in. Many times, custom splinting is required during injury or surgery recovery and our specialized staff will make sure you get the proper care that you need.

What is outpatient physical therapy?

The goal of outpatient physical therapy is recovery of strength and mobility so you can return to work, activity, and self-sufficiency. The typical treatment lasts from 45 to 60 minutes. Your first appointment will include an evaluation by the physical therapist and will last a little longer. Each therapy session will usually include some hands-on manual therapy, movement intervention or exercise, and you will learn and practice injury prevention techniques.

MISC. QUESTIONS

What insurance plans do you accept?

We accept most major insurance plans. Please call our office if you have a question about a particular insurance plan.

What hospitals are you affiliated with?

Our physicians operate at multiple area hospitals. We work with our patients to find the hospital most suitable for their needs.

Preparing for Surgery/Procedure

Preparing for Surgery

Once you and your Doctor decide that surgery will help you, you’ll need to learn what to expect from the surgery and create a treatment plan for the best results afterward. Preparing mentally and physically for surgery is an important step toward a successful result. Understanding the process and your role in it will help you recover more quickly and have fewer problems.

Working with Your Doctor

Before surgery, your doctor will give you a complete physical examination to make sure you don’t have any conditions that could interfere with the surgery or its outcome. Routine tests, such as blood tests, X-rays, or an EKG may be necessary. These are usually performed a week or two before any major surgery. Your surgeon may also request a clearance from your medical doctor.

Discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor and your family physician to see which ones you should stop taking before surgery.

If you are taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications or Warfarin or any drugs that increase the risk of bleeding you will need to stop taking them one week before surgery to minimize bleeding.

Discuss with your doctor options for preparing for potential blood replacement, including donating your own blood, medical interventions and other treatments, prior to surgery.

If you are overweight, losing weight before surgery will help decrease the stress you place on your new joint. However, you should not diet during the month before your surgery.

If you smoke, you should stop or cut down to reduce your surgery risks and improve your recovery.
Have any tooth, gum, bladder or bowel problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection later.

Eat a well-balanced diet, supplemented by a daily multivitamin with iron.

Report all infections, skin rashes, cuts, or abrasions to your surgeon; surgery cannot be performed until all infections have cleared up.

Arrange for someone to help out with everyday tasks like cooking, shopping, and laundry.

Put items that you use often within easy reach before surgery so you won’t have to reach and bend as often.

Remove all loose carpets and tape down electrical cords to avoid falls.

Make sure you have a stable chair with a firm seat cushion, a firm back, and two arms.

Preparing for Procedure

If you are having outpatient surgery, remember the following
Have someone available to take you home, you will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours after surgery.

Do Not drink or eat anything in the car on the trip home.

The combination of anesthesia, food, and car motion can quite often cause nausea or vomiting. After arriving home, wait until you are hungry before trying to eat. Begin with a light meal and try to avoid greasy food for the first 24 hours.

If you had surgery on an extremity (leg, knee, hand or elbow), keep that extremity elevated and use ice as directed. This will help decrease swelling and pain.

Take your pain medicine as directed. Begin the pain medicine as you start getting uncomfortable, but before you are in severe pain. If you wait to take your pain medication until the pain is severe, you will have more difficulty controlling the pain. Do not take pain medication on an empty stomach.