An Overview on Cartilage Restoration and Joint Preservation
Osteoarthritis of the shoulder affects millions of Americans and is a common cause of shoulder pain and discomfort. Osteoarthritis occurs as the smooth cartilage covering the ends of the bones wears away from an injury or the natural aging process. The effects of arthritis cannot be reversed and there is no cure at this time. Patients in the Van Nuys, Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles, California area suffering from advanced shoulder osteoarthritis may find relief and potentially delay shoulder replacement surgery with a cartilage restoration or joint preservation procedure. Dr. Mark Getelman, shoulder surgeon, offers some alternative surgical options to help return patients to the activities they love without necessarily undergoing a shoulder replacement.
Arthritis is a progressive disease that causes patients to experience consistent pain, inflammation and stiffness in the shoulder joint. When the condition is first diagnosed, many patients are prescribed non-surgical treatment options such as anti-inflammatory medications, activity modifications and a physical therapy program. As the condition progresses, certain patients may need a surgical intervention to alleviate the painful symptoms if non-surgical measures fail. There are a few cartilage restoration and joint preservation techniques designed to prolong or eliminate the need for shoulder replacement.
If a patient is experiencing partial cartilage fraying or loss of thickness, Dr. Getelman may recommend a shoulder arthroscopy, debridement and chondroplasty. This joint preservation and cartilage restoration procedure uses an arthroscope and tiny, special surgical tools to smooth the torn cartilage, remove any loose pieces of cartilage and stabilize the damaged area to potentially slow the progression of the disease process.
If a patient has a localized area full thickness loss of cartilage with good surrounding cartilage, Dr. Getelman may recommend Microfracture. Microfracture is a joint preservation and cartilage restoration technique aimed at restoring and re-growing cartilage tissue replacing the damaged tissue. The technique involves Dr. Getelman making tiny holes in the bone to release marrow. The marrow fills the damaged cartilage area, forms a blood clot and regrows tissue over the exposed bone.
These arthroscopic procedures may be successful in patients wanting to delay a shoulder replacement. These alternatives are generally recommended by Dr. Getelman in younger, active patients.