General Orthopedic FAQs

General FAQs

What is the difference between the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center and the Emory University Orthopaedic & Spine Hospital (EUOSH)?

The Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center at Executive Park houses the Emory Spine Center, the Emory Orthopaedics Center, Sports Medicine, Pediatrics, and Reconstructive Surgery. The Emory Spine Center is where our patients come for evaluation, consultations, and decision-making visits to determine the best course of action in treating their spinal condition. Most non-invasive (non-operative) treatments and scans can be done in our Executive Park building, as can some minimally invasive outpatient procedures. The Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center is located at 59 Executive Park South, Atlanta, Georgia 30329.

The Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital (EUOSH) is where our doctors perform surgery. At the EUOSH, our patients have all the benefits of a full-service inpatient hospital with physical and occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, critical care certified nurses,  social services, dietary and nutritional support, as well as a dedicated orthopedic nursing and ancillary staff. The EUOSH is located at 1455 Montreal Road in Tucker, Georgia, 30084.

How do I choose a physician?

Our top-notch physicians have national and international reputations. All are excellent and provide superior orthopedic care. You or your referring doctor may have a specific doctor in mind. If there is a delay in scheduling an appointment with a particular physician (as that doctor may be on vacation, away lecturing, or just have a full schedule), you may be offered another physician in our group who can see you more quickly. Rest assured, all Emory physicians are extremely competent. As a rule, we work together to arrive at the best course of care for each patient. Sometimes this means that it is in the patient's best interest that his/her care be transferred to another physician who has the most expertise in solving that patient's problems.

What are the most prevalent types of orthopedic conditions?

Back and spine ailments and injuries are the most common form of musculoskeletal impairment. In the year 2000, approximately 26 million patient visits were related to back problems and complaints.

How can I keep my bones healthy and avoid orthopedic problems?

Bone minerals are composed heavily of calcium. During periods of bone growth, between 10 and 20 years of age, calcium should be a critical dietary component or supplement, with at least 1300 mg. per day recommended. In addition, older individuals begin to lose bone minerals past the age of 35. Calcium supplements and exercise can help minimize this loss.

What is the difference between a sprain and a fracture, and how can I tell which one I have suffered?

A fracture is a break in a bone, which can result from an accident or other traumatic injury. A fracture rarely includes surgery and is usually treated by immobilizing the bone with a cast or a splint, which allows the broken bones to grow back together.

A sprain is an injury of the ligaments, the rubber-band like tissues that connect bones together. When the ligaments are stretched past their normal range of motion, the result can include swelling and severe pain.

A sprain will heal with rest, but a fractured bone must be set to heal.

What causes arthritis?

A layer of tissue called cartilage covers the end of the bones at the juncture of each joint and acts as a shock absorber. Over time, cartilage can wear away, and the joints can then become achy, swollen, and sore. This condition is called arthritis. Arthritis is the leading chronic condition of the elderly but can develop at any age.

What are the most common injuries in the workplace?

Back injuries account for the largest number of disabling injuries in the workplace.  Laborers, truck drivers, stock handlers, and nursing aids are jobs where disabling injuries most often occur. However, another "office job"-related injury is carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition of the nerve from the wrist to the thumb side of the hand. It is caused by repetitive forceful movements, such as working at a keyboard. Other jobs that are especially prone to this condition include dental hygienists, meat-cutters, and machine operators.

What are the symptoms of bone cancer, and how is it treated?

Tumors of the bone are caused by abnormal cell growth and can be cancerous or benign. Sometimes cancers originate in other parts of the body and metastasize (or spread) to the bone. Symptoms of bone cancer include bone pain, chronic pain in joints or limbs, and brittle bones that fracture with little or no stress. In some cases, a lump may be noticeable.

Treatments for bone cancer include chemotherapy and radiation. In addition, surgery is sometimes required and involves removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue. If bone is removed, it is replaced with a donor bone or prosthesis.

What is regional anesthesia?

Regional anesthesia involves "numbing" or "blocking" the nerves that supply sensation to the surgical region by injecting the area around the nerves with numbing medicine such as Xylocaine. The block is done just before the surgery, which can then be performed without pain and without a breathing tube. The initial effects of the numbing medicine usually last about 12 to 18 hours. In addition, when the block is performed, a small tube called a "catheter" can be placed near the nerves, allowing a continuous "block" of pain for up to two days after the surgery. Pain control after surgery with regional anesthesia is usually excellent.

What is general anesthesia?

General anesthesia involves the administration of anesthetics to the lungs through a breathing tube, which is removed at the end of the procedure. During the replacement surgery, numbing medicine can be injected into the tissues around the surgical region to help with pain control after the procedure. In addition, a Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) machine is usually used following surgery to help diminish pain. This machine allows patients to give themselves medicine in a safe manner, as needed, for one or two days after surgery.

Orthopedic Conditions
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