Joint preservation

Joint preservation is a leading-edge field in orthopedics that works in conjunction with joint replacement surgery.

Both nonsurgical and surgical joint preservation techniques help us delay or prevent degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis that affect the joints, especially in young athletes. This can help them stay active until replacement is necessary.

Our orthopedic specialists use the latest research and proven techniques to create the best treatment plan for your case. We are ready to help reduce your pain and improve your range of motion so you can stay as active as you want.

Joint preservation: a less invasive option

Today, joint replacement surgery is not your only option for relief of chronic joint pain. Joint preservation is a less invasive option that may help you maintain mobility as you age. Joint replacement is necessary for late stages of osteoarthritis, but until then, joint preservation techniques may work, especially for hips and knees.

Don't let joint pain limit your activities

If your joint pain is limiting your activities for more than three days, or you have recurring episodes of the same pain over several weeks or months, make an appointment today with a UCHealth orthopedic surgeon to see if joint preservation can help.

Treatment options vary depending on the condition of your joint and other factors, and can include:

  • Corticosteroids. May be injected into the joint to reduce inflammation.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Includes ibuprofen and naproxen.
  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist will teach you exercises to strengthen and increase the mobility of the muscles, ligaments and tissues around the problem joint.
  • Rest. Stop activities that cause pain to allow the muscles, tendons or joints time to heal.

We also perform joint preservation surgical procedures, typically on the knee and hip. The most common approach is arthroscopic surgery, where your orthopedic surgeon inserts a thin tube containing a small camera, light and tools through one or more small incisions. Using this approach, your surgeon can treat bone spurs and remove scar tissue, damaged soft tissue or irritated synovium to relieve pain and improve range of motion.

Your surgeon may also perform other specific joint preservation procedures, including:

  • Allograft. Transplant of tissue from a cadaveric donor.
  • Autogenous osteochondral transfer. Transplanting cartilage and bone from elsewhere in your knee.
  • Microfracture. May restore a full-thickness cartilage defect in the knee.

Hip preservation surgeries can also be performed to potentially prevent the onset of osteoarthritis. These include:

  • Arthroscopic labral repair. A minimally-invasive approach to restore function of the labrum, a part of the hip joint.
  • Osteoplasty. Removal of areas of prominent bone that lead to accelerated wear.
  • Osteotomies. Cutting and reshaping of the pelvic bone to correct pelvic dysplasia, or abnormal development of the hip.