Thursday, 17 of January of 2019

Tag » Surgery

Back Safety For The Holidays: Travel, Tree Trimming and More

Tis the holiday season and time to reflect on the many blessings in our lives and to enjoy the company of friends and family. But it’s also the time of year when we’re busier than ever and often feeling stressed, which can show up as tense shoulders, neck and back pain. Add to that all the lifting, pulling, pushing and twisting we do to clean and decorate the house, set up the tree and put up the outdoor lights. It’s easy to hurt yourself or aggravate old injuries.

For many people, the holidays also mean traveling by airplane to visit to family and friends. And improperly lifting or carrying heavy suitcases and carry-on bags can literally be a real pain in the neck. Even if you’re not traveling, heavy shopping bags full of presents can put a strain on your back, shoulders and neck, too.

Here are some holiday safety tips from the American Orthopedic Association:

Choose the right luggage. Two smaller bags are easier on your back than one heavy one – and make sure you are using a lightweight suitcase with a handle, one you can pull behind you, not carry.

Lift properly. Bend your knees and lift using your leg muscles, being careful not to twist your spine. Never stretch and reach for anything heavy – that’s a sure way to hurt your back. Carry heavy suitcases or shopping bags close to your body for better balance and carry the bags in both hands, rather than on just one side. The same applies to backpacks. Carry a backpack over both shoulders rather than slinging it onto one shoulder only.

Be careful of overhead compartments. Lifting your luggage into an airplane’s overhead compartment can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have a lot of upper body strength. Don’t lift your bag straight up into the compartment. Instead, lift luggage onto the top of the seat. Then place both hands on either side of the suitcase and lift up. If your luggage has wheels, put the side with wheels in first; then push the bag to the back of the compartment.

Ask for help and avoid rushing. If your suitcase is heavy or awkward, ask a flight attendant for assistance. It’s not worth attempting it yourself and making your holiday miserable because of neck or back strain.

Dr. John Kagan and his staff wish all of their patients and their families a safe and happy holiday. For more information about orthopedic-related medical conditions, go to

Steps To Prepare Your Home Following Hip Replacement Surgery

A few weeks before you’re admitted to the hospital for hip replacement, you’ll want to begin making preparations for what to expect post-surgery during the recovery period. While some people may opt to spend a few weeks in a short-term inpatient rehab center, others prefer to go directly home.

If you do go home, remember that your spouse, a family member, friend or home health aide will need to assist you with daily activities for the first week or two since your mobility will be limited. You’ll need help with bathing, using the toilet, cooking, grocery shopping, and driving to doctor appointments.

To make your return home safer and more comfortable, here are some suggestions from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Consider it your pre-surgery to do list.

1. Sleep on the first floor. You won’t want to climb stairs, so if your bedroom is not on the first floor, designate any area for sleeping. Consider renting a hospital bed rather than sleeping on a couch. You’ll also want the bathroom on the first floor. If necessary, get a portable commode chair.

2. Avoid anything that you could strain your new hip joint. Many of today’s beds are oversize and high off the ground. Be sure that you can sit on the edge of the bed and have your feet easily touch the floor.

3. You won’t want to stand for too long, so place a firm-backed chair in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or other room you use frequently. That way you can sit to rest and to do daily tasks.

4. You’ll most likely be using a walker at first. Attach a bag or basket to the walker and place frequently used items in it such as a notepad, pen, tissue, cell phone and the remote control. It will make your life much easier.

5. Make meals in advance and freeze them so you won’t have to worry about cooking. If family or friends ask how they can help, have them prepare a meal for you. Get all items, especially toiletries that you may need now. You want to avoid have to shop for last minute items after you get home.

6. To avoid slipping and falling in the bathtub or shower, consider getting a special rubber-tipped shower chair. At the very least, place non-slip suction mats on the floor of the bathtub or shower floor. Installing grab bars in the bathroom is also a good idea.

7. Temporarily remove all loose throw rugs and make sure that the lighting is good throughout the house. You don’t want to risk tripping and falling.

8. Small pets can get underfoot easily. Consider asking a family member to take them for a short time, have them boarded at the kennel or if appropriate, have them stay outside in the yard during the first couple days or week.

Hip replacement is a very common orthopedic procedure. As the number of baby boomers age, the number of people undergoing the surgery is expected to increase considerably. For information about how the surgery is performed, go to

What is Knee Arthroscopy Surgery?

The trend in surgery today is toward a minimally invasive approach that is less traumatic to the body. This is especially true for knee surgery, where it’s possible to repair damage to ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bone without the need for large, open incisions, an overnight hospital stay and a very lengthy recovery period.

Minimally invasive procedures are possible thanks to improvements in technology, such as the development of tiny fiber-optic scopes that can be inserted into the body through incisions or “portals” only three to four millimeters in diameter.

While the incision is small, the surgeon’s ability to perform the procedure isn’t compromised by a tiny view. Instead, a small lens, light source and video camera on the end of the scope sends images of the knee joint to a large monitor in the operating room, which gives the surgeon a “big picture” and a clear view of the operating field.

Additional incisions are made to allow the surgeon to insert small surgical instruments into the knee joint. These tiny instruments are used to repair damage to the knee caused by an accident, sports or other situations or to reduce pain and disability caused by degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports five common reasons why patients undergoing knee arthroscopy:

1. Remove or repair a torn meniscus
2. Reconstruct a torn ACL, anterior cruciate ligament
3. Trim torn pieces of articular cartilage
4. Remove loose fragments of bone or cartilage
5. Remove inflamed synovial tissue

For more information about the kinds of conditions that benefit from arthroscopic knee surgery, go to

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis

When swelling, pain and stiffness in your knee, shoulder or hip sends you to the doctor, what can you expect? The first step in diagnosing whether you have osteoarthritis is a physical exam. The doctor will look at the affected joint for signs of swelling, muscle weakness, tenderness and warmth; whether there is a grinding noise (which could show bone on bone friction caused by a loss of cartilage); and the extent of your range of motion – how easy or difficult it is for you to raise your arm, flex your knee or walk. The doctor will also ask about your medical history, including how long you have had the pain.

The next step is typically an X-ray to look at the bones and surrounding tissue to see whether there is evidence of deterioration. Additional tests, including a Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) scan and arthroscopy may be ordered to help the doctor evaluate whether the osteoarthritis is in the early stage or late stage of disease.

MRI is a high-tech medical test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves, unlike X-rays and CT Scans, which use radiation. The images from the MRI scan are extremely precise and clear, making this test a good choice to evaluate degenerative changes to the bone, cartilage and surrounding tissue, such as the presence of excess fluid in the joint, the development of bone spurs, whether there is narrowing of the space in the joint and the level of deterioration of the cartilage.

Once osteoarthritis is confirmed, the doctor may suggest arthroscopy. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a tiny medical scope is inserted into the joint through a small incision. The doctor can then look at the interior of the joint directly and determine the best method of treatment, which could range from minor repairs to total joint replacement.

For a list of orthopedic procedures performed to alleviate joint pain and stiffness, go to

What Does Minimally Invasive Surgery Mean?

Minimally invasive surgery is a newer technique that orthopedic surgeons use to diagnose and treat a wide variety of orthopedic-related conditions that can affect the knees, hips, shoulder, ankles and elbows.

Also called arthroscopic surgery and sometimes “keyhole” surgery, minimally invasive surgery has become the preferred choice and standard of care whenever possible due to the many benefits it offers to both the surgeon and the patient, including:

• Small incision size
• Less damage to the tissue
• Less blood loss
• Reduced post-operative pain
• Faster recovery
• Smaller scars
• The potential to go home the same day as the surgery

In contrast with traditional surgery, in which a large incision is used to open the body, with minimally invasive techniques, only tiny incisions – often described as “keyhole” size are required. This shift toward less invasive methods of diagnosing and treating injury and illness represents a major improvement in patient care.

What are some of the orthopedic-related procedures that can be performed with minimally invasive techniques? Removal of bone chips and spurs, damaged cartilage, and inflamed synovial fluid. Repairing ligament tears, bone fractures and tears to the meniscus and ACL. Treatment of shoulder dislocation, instability and rotator cuff tears. Even joint replacement surgery is often performed using minimally invasive techniques.

If you would like to learn more about minimally invasive orthopedic surgery, go to or call 239-936-6778.

Therapy After Hip Replacement Surgery

Physical therapy is essential for a successful recovery from hip replacement surgery. Physical therapists are trained to help people who have been injured or ill improve their ability to walk, handle daily activities and regain their independence.

Under the guidance of the therapist, you will perform specific exercises to help strengthen the joint and muscles. Participating in therapy will allow you to return to everyday activities faster and stronger.

Physical therapy begins while you are still in the hospital. Medication will reduce discomfort as you gradually learn to put more weight on the joint, balance without falling and walk with an assistive device such as a walker. You may also be asked to do simple exercises while you are in bed, such as tightening the muscles in your legs and pointing your feet.

When you are ready to leave the hospital, the therapist will give you certain exercises that are to be performed daily at home. The therapist will also teach you how to get in and out of the car, tie your shoes, sit in a chair and get in and out of the bathtub without damaging the new joint. For a while you will need to avoid putting too much stress on the joint. You will also attend therapy sessions at the doctor’s office or outpatient center until you have made sufficient progress and can resume an active lifestyle.

For more information about rehabilitation after orthopedic surgery, go to

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