FAQ - 2145x460

Orthopedic Surgery

A: The most common orthopedic surgeries are:

  • arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip and ankle;
  • joint replacement surgery during which an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint;
  • repair of soft tissue injuries, such as torn tendons or ligaments.


A: As with any surgery, risks include bleeding, infection, stiffness and nerve damage. Ask your surgeon what the risks are for your particular procedure.


A: Orthopaedic surgeons manage special problems of the musculoskeletal system. This involves:

  • Diagnosis of your injury or disorder
  • Treatment with medication, exercise, surgery or other treatment plans
  • Rehabilitation by recommending exercises or physical therapy to restore movement, strength and function
  • Prevention with information and treatment plans to prevent injury or slow the progression of diseases

While orthopaedic surgeons are familiar with all aspects of the musculoskeletal system, many orthopaedists specialize in certain areas, such as the foot and ankle, spine, hip or knee. They may also choose to focus on specific fields like pediatrics, trauma or sports medicine. Some orthopaedic surgeons may specialize in several areas.

Education and Training

Your orthopaedic surgeon is a medical doctor with extensive training in the proper diagnosis and treatment of injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Your orthopaedic surgeons completed up to 14 years of formal education.

  • Four years of study in a college or university
  • Four years of study in medical school
  • Five years of study in orthopaedic residency at a major medical center
  • One optional year of specialized education

Each year your orthopaedic surgeon spends many hours studying and attending continuing medical education courses to stay up-to-date in current orthopaedic knowledge and skills.

source: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

Learn more about Dr. Marc Pietropaoli’s education and experience here.


A: Arthroscopic surgery is one of the most common orthopedic procedures performed today. Through the use of small
instruments and cameras, an orthopedic surgeon can visualize, diagnose, and treat problems within the joints.

One or more small incisions are made around the joint to be viewed. The surgeon inserts an instrument called an arthoscope
into the joint. The arthoscope contains a fiber optic light source and small television camera that allows the surgeon to view
the joint on a television monitor and diagnose the problem, determine the extent of injury, and make any necessary repairs.
Other instruments may be inserted to help view or repair the tissues inside the joint.


A: Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which parts of an arthritic or damaged joint are removed and replaced with a metal, plastic or ceramic device called a prosthesis. The prosthesis is designed to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint.

Knee and hip replacements are the most commonly performed joint replacements, but replacement surgery can be performed on other joints, as well, including the ankle, wrist, shoulder, and elbow.

A joint is where the ends of two or more bones meet. There are different types of joints within the body. For example, the knee is considered a “hinge” joint, because of its ability to bend and straighten like a hinged door. The hip and shoulder are “ball-and-socket” joints, in which the rounded end of one bone fits into a cup-shaped area of another bone.



A: Several conditions can cause joint pain and disability and lead patients to consider joint replacement surgery. In many cases, joint pain is caused by damage to the cartilage that lines the ends of the bones (articular cartilage)—either from arthritis, a fracture, or another condition.

If nonsurgical treatments like medications, physical therapy, and changes to your everyday activities do not relieve your pain and disability, we may recommend total joint replacement.



A: Every situation is different, however, some complications that can come from avoiding needed surgery are pain, loss of motion, weakness, numbness and an early onset of arthritis.


A: Every situation is different but in most cases we will recommend physical therapy after surgery.  In fact, we highly recommend physical therapy prior to some surgeries to help loosen and strengthen muscles around the injured area.  Physical therapy can help you regain motion and strength the injured area after surgery and often times leads to better post-surgical outcomes.  Physical therapy typically lasts between 2 to 6 months.


A: Every situation is different and depends on a number of factors including the type of procedure performed.  A return to daily activities can be anywhere from a few days to a few months. A full return to all activities, sports and exercise can take from four to six months for some surgeries. We advise you throughout your treatment and rehabilitation on your individual progress and ability to return daily activities.



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