What Are the Most Common Orthopedic Surgeries?

Oct 2, 2019

There are many different orthopedic surgeries that surgeons perform. These surgeries address different parts of the body, and while they are still invasive procedures, many are very routine.

Some are even now minimally invasive thanks to improvements in technology. Your orthopedic doctor will help you understand the specific surgery you need, including what it involves, what the risks are, and what other options, if any, you might have.

If you’ve been told that you need surgery, it does help to know if what you’re dealing with is common or not. To that end, here are some of the most common orthopedic surgeries.

Knee Replacement

The knee is one of the most used joints in the body, but unfortunately, that means it’s often over-used to the point of injury. Knee replacement surgery can either replace some (a partial replacement) or all (total replacement) of the knee joint with an artificial one.

In most cases, this is necessary because the cartilage in the joint has been damaged, restricting movement or making it very painful to move. There are a number of things that can cause this, including trauma to the knee, bursitis, and obesity.

ACL Surgery

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is an integral part of the knee and runs diagonally across the front. It helps keep you stable when you rotate on your leg. If this ligament has been torn, reconstructive surgery is needed to repair it.

This surgery involves taking part of a tendon from elsewhere in the body and grafting it onto the damaged part of the ACL. Usually, this surgery isn’t major and the patient can return home the same day.

Hip Replacement

Another common joint that is commonly replaced is the hip. The hip is made up of the acetabulum (the socket) and the femoral head (the ball).

Like the knee, the cartilage in the hip and wear over time, especially if it’s damaged. Also like the knee, there are two different types of replacement surgeries.

In many cases, the entire joint is replaced. However, there is another procedure known as Birmingham Hip Resurfacing that only replaces the part of the joint that are damaged. This isn’t always an option, though.

Shoulder Replacement

Another common joint replacement surgery is on the shoulder. Like the knee or the hip, the shoulder is put under a lot of stress regularly.

Generally, the upper part of the humerus, the bone in the upper arm, is removed and replaced with a metal ball. A plastic replacement is then put in to replace the damaged part of the socket.

However, if your rotator cuff is damaged, too, then the socket is generally made of metal and the plastic replacement is used on the arm bone.


Arthroscopy is a procedure that can be done on the knee or shoulder. It is one of the minimally invasive orthopedic procedures that allows the surgeon to place a small camera into the body near the joint to get a clear image of the damage.

You may need to have an arthroscopy done before either knee or shoulder replacement so that the surgeon knows how extensive the damage is and what exactly needs to be done.

Joint Fusion

If you suffer from arthritis, there may come a time when you have to have a joint fusion procedure. During this surgery, cartilage is taken from an uninjured part of the body and grafted into an area where the cartilage has been damaged.

Once this is done, the bones on either side are actually fused together to help stabilize the joint. This procedure can be done on the feet, ankles, spine, or fingers.

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