Orthopedic Surgery: Benefits, Risks, Preparation, Until Recovery

When experiencing problems with the movement system, patients must immediately treat the condition so that its effects do not interfere with daily activities. Generally, treatment can include the administration of drugs and therapy. However, if this treatment does not work, the doctor may recommend the patient to undergo orthopedic surgery.

What is orthopedic surgery?

Orthopedic surgery is a medical procedure performed to treat conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. The scope of this surgery includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and nerves.

The surgery is performed by orthopedic surgeons and traumatologists who are trained to assess and treat problems that arise in the musculoskeletal system. Not only surgery, but doctors also perform this surgery for purposes, such as:

  • Make a diagnosis of the injury or musculoskeletal disorder,
  • Provide treatment with drugs,
  • Provide rehabilitation with recommendations for exercise or physical therapy to restore the injured movement function, as well as
  • Provide information and treatment plans to prevent or slow the progression of the disease.

There are many types of orthopedic surgery, but here are the most common procedures performed.

  • Arthroscopy: an invasive procedure that uses a camera and special equipment to diagnose and treat problems within the joint.
  • Bone fusion: a “welding” procedure by joining bones together using bone grafts or internal devices such as metal rods. Usually done in the spine.
  • Joint replacement: a procedure to replace a joint that is affected by arthritic or severely damaged joints with an artificial joint called a prosthesis made of artificial metal and plastic components. Can be partially or completely replaced.
  • Internal fixation: a procedure to hold the broken pieces of bone in the correct position with metal plates, screws, or pins, while the bone is in the process of healing.
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction: orthopedic surgery to treat traumatic knee injuries.
  • Osteotomy: correction of abnormalities in the bone structure by cutting and repositioning the bone.
  • Soft tissue repair: a procedure to repair damaged soft tissue such as tendons or ligaments.

When should a patient undergo orthopedic surgery

When should a patient undergo orthopedic surgery?

Patients should undergo surgery if the pain does not improve even after several weeks of treatment. Patients may also need surgery if they have had a traumatic injury, such as an ACL tear.

In the case of an emergency, such as an open fracture that requires immediate surgery, the doctor will carry out a series of examinations which will immediately be followed by surgery.

Meanwhile, for cases of congenital abnormalities or abnormal limb development, such as clubfoot in infants, the doctor will install a casting and perform an examination for several months. If there is no progress, the doctor will consider surgery, depending on the patient’s condition.

In essence, not all injured conditions will be operated on immediately. The doctor’s decision depends on the symptoms and the results of tests such as X-ray scans, MRI scans, and CT scans. Therefore, make sure you do a series of examinations before getting orthopedic surgery.

Sometimes, surgery is also performed as a diagnostic procedure to determine the cause of the patient’s problems. Surgery is performed if the results of the examination with other procedures do not show clear results.

Is there a risk of complications arising from orthopedic surgery?

Like other medical procedures, orthopedic surgery is not free from various risks of complications. Here are some of the risks of complications.

Anesthetic effects (anesthesia)

This complication can occur if the patient has an allergy or sensitivity to one of the substances contained in the anesthetic. Usually, general anesthesia is riskier than local anesthesia.

The effects range from mild and temporary to serious. Its various effects include nausea, chills, difficulty breathing, or impaired cognitive function.


Infection is one of the surgical complications that are often a concern. Oftentimes, infections are easy to treat. But at other times, there are some patients who need additional surgical procedures and long-term treatment to treat the infection.

Blood clot

Blood clots can form in the veins after undergoing orthopedic surgery. To prevent blood clots after surgery, the doctor will apply compression, mobilization, or use blood thinners.

Preparation before undergoing orthopedic surgery

Before surgery, you may have to go through a series of examinations first. The doctor will tell you about the condition and what surgical procedures will be carried out and the risks.

During the examination, do not hesitate to ask your concerns about risk factors for complications after surgery.

Also tell if you have other medical conditions, have allergies to certain drugs, and if you are taking other drugs or supplements.

The type of anesthetic you choose and the length of time the surgery will take will depend on your condition and the type of surgery being performed.

How is recovery after orthopedic surgery?

Recovery after the surgery depends on the procedure you underwent as well as other factors such as age and adherence to the doctor’s advice.

Usually, recovery after orthopedic surgery involves rehabilitation that takes a long time. There are also patients who simply do therapy regularly to restore joint mobility and increase strength.

Pain is common after surgery. To overcome this, the doctor may give drugs that can reduce pain.

You need to know, that some drugs or intravenous fluids can make you urinate more often. If you still have trouble moving, ask your family or health care provider for help when you want to go to the bathroom.

After surgery, you may also feel weak. At these times, incidents such as falling or tripping are prone to occur. Make sure you are always surrounded by those closest to you to make it easier to get help.

Remember, the risk of postoperative complications can occur. Be aware of signs such as infection or blood clots. Call your doctor if you experience symptoms of any unusual complications such as fever or bleeding.