WHAT IS ARTHRITIS?
The human skeleton is composed hard bones topped with a rubbery tissue called cartilage and attached together at joints with tendons and muscles; this powerful, amazing construction gives us an astounding range of pain-free, easy motion. Unfortunately, this easy freedom of movement can be all-too-easily undermined by even the slightest damage to any part of this elegant, complicated system. Arthritis is a common condition in which one or more joints become irritated and inflamed, leading to deterioration of the cartilage. As the bones begin to rub directly against each other, movement becomes increasingly painful, difficult, and limited. If left untreated and unchecked, arthritis can lead to significant discomfort, impairment, and immobilization.
While there are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis, the two most common types are:
Osteoarthritis: the most common form, osteoarthritis is also called “degenerative arthritis” or “wear and tear arthritis” because the affected cartilage is worn down by repeated joint movement over time.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): RA is an autoimmune disease, so called because the body’s immune system—its natural defense against disease—attacks the joints instead, causing them to become inflamed and irritated, eventually leading to degeneration and decay.
In some cases, arthritis may also be a symptom or long-term consequence of another bone or joint-related disease. For instance, Kienböck’s Disease is a condition in which the blood supply to a small bone in the wrist, the lunate, is disrupted, causing the bone to harden (sclerosis) and eventually die.
Arthritis can occur in any joint in the body, but can be especially problematic in the joints of the fingers, thumb, wrist, or elbow due to the constant movement required of the hand throughout the course of a normal day. If you have arthritis in one or more of these critical joints and the degeneration has progressed to the point where surgery is required to eliminate pain and restore a normal range of motion, it is critical to select a surgeon who has extensive experience working with the small, delicate, complex joints of the hand. Dr. Asaf Yalif, lead surgeon at Y Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is triple Board Certified in Plastic Surgery, Hand Surgery, and Orthopedic Surgery, and is the only surgeon in the Atlanta area to offer this unique combination of specializations. At his offices in Atlanta, Roswell, Woodstock, GA, you will discover a boutique-style, patient-friendly surgical practice where you will find lasting solutions to your arthritis, custom-tailored to return your fingers and hands to their optimal range of motion and function.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR ARTHRITIS?
For most arthritis suffers, the first line of defense against the cartilage and bone degeneration caused by arthritic is usually non-surgical, and can include controlling symptoms through pain medication and lifestyle changes and preventing further deterioration through oral or injectable medications such as anti-inflammatories or steroids, immobilization, splinting, and physical therapy. However, if the arthritic degeneration has progressed to the point where the joints have been severely damaged or the arthritis is no longer responding to non-surgical treatments, surgery may be required.
There are a variety of surgical options available to arthritis suffers, and during your initial consultation with Dr. Yalif, he will discuss the range of options appropriate for you, taking the time to ensure that you understand which option or options are best suited for your type of arthritis and medical history. His goal is to develop a personalized surgical plan designed to maximize your chances of long-term relief from discomfort and restore as much normal hand function as possible, while minimizing the risk of surgical complications and post-operative discomfort and recovery time. Cutting-edge, minimally-invasive arthroscopic techniques are increasingly being applied to the small, complex structures of the hand, but traditional “open” surgery is still required in cases of major cartilage degeneration and joint damage. Most surgical options fall into one of these four main categories:
- Cartilage repair and regeneration
- Joint reconstruction
- Joint fusion
- Joint replacement
In cases where the arthritis has been caused by a specific disease, a more specific surgical treatment may be required. For instance, to treat Kienböck’s Disease, surgery may be required to restore normal blood flow to the lunate, utilize bone grafts to level the joints and reduce pressure on the lunate, fuse the wrist joints, or remove the lunate entirely.
CONTACT Y PLASTIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY
Dr. Asaf Yalif, lead surgeon at Y Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, is uniquely qualified to provide advanced, cutting-edge surgical treatment options for degenerative or traumatic hand and upper extremity issues. The only surgeon in the Atlanta area specializing in the rare combination of hand and plastic surgery, Dr. Yalif is triple Board Certified in Plastic Surgery, Hand Surgery, and Orthopedic Surgery. His unique perspective on soft tissue, joint, and bone-related conditions of the hand, fingers, wrist, and elbow enables him to offer a variety of medical and surgical options unavailable at traditional orthopedic practices. Y Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is a friendly, welcoming boutique medical practice where cutting-edge surgical techniques are coupled with an emphasis on the patient experience; whether you are dealing with a traumatic injury or a long-standing degenerative disease, Dr. Yalif will take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to ensure that your hands can work as hard as you do!
Y Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has offices conveniently located in Atlanta, Roswell, and Woodstock, Georgia. If you have arthritis of the hand, wrist, or elbow and are interested in learning how Dr. Yalif can help, or would like information on the surgical options available at Y Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, we encourage you to contact us today for an initial consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!