Orthopedic Medicine and Surgery – Osteoarthritis
The medical field of orthopedics covers a wide variety of injuries, diseases, and disorders in the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic medicine and surgery are advancing quickly. Fortunately, today, advanced orthopedics can treat many issues around musculoskeletal trauma, spine injury, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors, and congenital disorders.
If you opened this article, you may suffer from osteoarthritis, or you may have problems with your discs, hips, knees, elbows, shoulders, hocks or feet. Don’t worry! In this week’s blog article by My Kypros Home, we present an overview of osteoarthritis, its diagnosis, treatment.
About Orthopedic Medicine and Surgery
Orthopedic surgeons are specialized in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Some orthopedists are generalists, while others specialize in certain areas like sports medicine or body areas like hips and knees. Orthopedists hold a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree and have completed 4-5 years of residency in a hospital.
There are several advanced orthopedics institutions in the world. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons is considered the leading provider of musculoskeletal education to orthopedic surgeons and others in the world.
The stiffening of a joint is called osteoarthritis. It is the most common form of arthritis and mostly occurs among older people. Besides, it is often painful and affects millions of people around the world.
- Arthrosis vs. arthritis
- Arthrosis is characterized by continuous cartilage degradation in the joint space. With arthritis, inflammation occurs on top of painful restrictions on mobility.
- It occurs when the protective cartilage, which acts as a cushion at the ends of your bones wears down over time. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, this problem is mainly observed in the hands, knees, hips, and spine.
- You may observe occasional pain, tenderness, and joint stiffness in the early stages of osteoarthritis. You might also notice that your hips hurt after jogging, or that your back is stiff when you wake up in the morning. Orthopedic surgeons differentiate between temporary pain, stress pain and rest pain in osteoarthritis.
- Arthritis progress
- Regardless of the cause, arthritis starts with cartilage cracks and thus increased friction in the joint. This leads to an increased abrasion until the cartilage-free bone surfaces that rub directly against each other. This state is irreversible and a part of the natural aging process.
- As there is no blood test for the diagnosis, x-rays of the affected joints are the main way to identify osteoarthritis. Typically, loss of joint cartilage, narrowing of the joint space between adjacent bones, and bone spur formation are visible on the x-rays.
- Don’t waste any time: Many types of arthrosis can be stopped or slowed down by minimally invasive surgery (arthroscopy). Specialists detect and permanently repair causes like the entrapment of cartilage fragments, impingement or torn cartilage. In these cases, osteoarthritis can be fully stopped, and the orthopedist can restore a healthy, trainable joint. Timely detection and treatment is the key to success!
- However, if a joint is so damaged that the cartilage is completely broken down, the orthopedist can help with artificial joints (prostheses or partial dentures). Nowadays, artificial joints are very reliable and can last for decades. Don’t postpone this necessary surgery and protect your other joints from overloading. Modern joint replacement in knees or hips has a failure rate of less than 1% per year! The step to replace your joint with an artificial one may be scary, but the improvement in the quality of life is enormous.
- With good care and active help, many patients can enjoy a good quality of life despite osteoarthritis.
- Sports, in particular flowing movements, lubricate your joints naturally. Swimming, water aerobics, and cycling are particularly recommended for the natural regeneration of arthritis damaged cartilage. The stronger the muscles, which hold together the joints, the better the joint functions.
- If your condition is advanced, physiotherapy, joint rinsing, correction of misalignments, and cartilage transplantation can be tried as a first step before replacement surgery, prostheses or partial dentures.
- Cartilage transplantation
- Cartilage cells do not re-grow by themselves. A cartilage transplant, cartilage cell or chondrocyte transplant may be a solution to severe osteoarthritis. It is a relatively new surgical procedure, where the cartilage damage is repaired by using cartilage cells from the patient’s own body. Only selected knee specialists can successfully perform this procedure. It is also a very time-consuming procedure.
- The removal of the body’s own cartilage cells is the first step and relatively simple. It can be done as an outpatient service. Secondly, these cells are multiplied many thousands of times over 3-4 weeks in the laboratory. The resulting cartilage cells adhere to each other and behave like natural cartilage cells. The return of the body’s own cartilage cells is again minimally invasive. However, this time, hospitalization for 3 to 4 days is necessary. Most patients can return to some physical activity after six to eight weeks, but full recovery after cartilage repair surgery can take anywhere from three to six months.
- Anti-inflammatory natural remedies can help to relieve osteoarthritis. Plant medicine like Nettle Leaves (Urticae Folium / Herba), Willow bark (Salicis Cortex), Root of the Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum Radix) can be used to treat osteoarthritis together with traditional medicine to support their effect and healing.
- Osteoarthritis nutrition
- Overweight and high-fat diets damage the joints, while a low-fat and vitamin-rich diet helps the joints. Physicians also observe a positive influence of plant nutrition (in particular leeks). Therefore, weight loss (if you are obese) and a therapeutic fast can reduce the necessity of painkillers. Make sure to consult a doctor or orthopedist for fasting therapy and changes in your diet.
- Besides, there are reports that dietary supplements such as chondroitin sulfate or glucosamine as well as certain vitamins favorably influence symptoms in osteoarthritis patients. However, this has not yet been scientifically confirmed.
- Matrix Therapy ZRT ®
- Matrix Therapy is based on the idea that before increasing overall muscle strength and coordination, the muscles and tissues require optimized living conditions including a good metabolic rate by the improved lymphatic and venous flow. Matrix Therapy enhances the regeneration of the body through supporting and improving the metabolism of the individual cells.
- A German study showed that the majority of patients demonstrated a significant improvement in pain and mobility. Besides, the use of medication, especially painkillers, as well as the incapacity for work was significantly reduced.
- Finger osteoarthritis
- 90% of patients with finger arthritis are women. Middle-aged women are particularly affected by the polyarthritis of the finger joints. Arthritis in the hands can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Men tend to get more arthritis in their hip joints. Childbirth, hormones (estrogen helps keep inflammation in check) and a family history of arthritis influence the risk for women and men.
Now you have an extensive overview of osteoarthritis. You have learned what is osteoarthritis in the first place, symptoms and causes, diagnostics and treatment options – from prevention to minimally invasive surgery – as well as osteoarthritis in different parts of the body.
Advanced orthopedics in Cyprus
The medical care in Cyprus fulfills international standards. Over the last few years, a variety of reputable public and private clinics were established and gained worldwide popularity. This is mostly thanks to their highly-qualified in-house doctors, surgeons, and medical staff – who studied abroad at the best universities – as well as a commitment to investing in state-of-the-art technology and care facilities.
This is the reason, why Cyprus medical tourism is gaining popularity. Besides, there are several internationally renowned hospitals, medical centers, and clinics in Cyprus which offer spine and robotic surgeries as well as specialized surgeries and treatment of Paley orthopedic deformity. It’s your choice to select your preferred center for minimally invasive surgery in Cyprus. My Kypros Home can help you to select the best clinic and treatment for your needs.
The options within robotic surgeries include treatment in the area of thoracic and gastrointestinal (GI) oncology. Besides, the department of orthopedic surgery in these specialized hospitals is highly experienced in treating spinal cord injury cases and complicated revision, for example, redoing failed back surgeries.
If you are a non-Cyprus resident with an international health insurance provider like Allianz, AXA or Cigna you can normally get treated at the hospital or clinic of your choice around the world. Naturally, this depends on the contract and services of your health provider as well as your health condition, for example, if you seek treatment for a pre-existing condition and if it is medically necessary (indicated).
Cypriots are covered under the national general health system aka GeSY. Since March 2019 this program covers outpatient medical treatments with a very small own contribution rate. Inpatient surgeries will be included in this program once GeSY is fully implemented, expectedly in summer 2020.
My Kypros Home is happy to assist you with preparing and organizing your treatment at our partner hospital in Cyprus, a worldwide leader in neurosurgery, spine, orthopedics and robotic surgery. Excellent international surgeons take care of you at a competitive price.
At our partner hospital, the best doctors worldwide will carry out your specialized surgery. And if the best doctor is not on site, the hospital will fly them in to perform your treatment. If you wish, you can be treated for example by a US-American doctor in Cyprus, even if you are not insured in the USA.
Either way, international doctors are able to perform the indicated surgery at a lower cost in Cyprus compared to your home country, where taxes and other costs might be higher. This may be particularly interesting for you, in case your insurance doesn’t cover the treatment you are seeking.
Moreover, My Kypros Home also offers a great variety of practical services around living in Cyprus. This includes medical tourism including rehabilitation (for example, along the famous Cyprus beaches), insurances, your move to Cyprus and retiring in Cyprus.
Disclaimer: The above content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers for any medical conditions you have. My Kypros Home is not a licensed doctor or medical professional.