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May 12, 2016

Osteoarthritis: What It Is and How to Treat It

by Jordan Schaeffer, MD

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of degenerative joint disease. It is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis and is characterized by the loss of the cartilage in joints, usually the hip and knee. Osteoarthritis is extremely common – affecting almost 35% of adults over the age of 65 – and can lead to debilitating pain and a decreased quality of life for many patients. The good news is that there are great treatment options for arthritis.

Early arthritis can be treated with simple means such as physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. More progressive disease may require steroid or other types of injections to help control pain. When non-surgical treatment options have stopped working, joint replacement is an excellent option to help decrease pain and increase quality of life.

Hip and knee replacement is a procedure where the diseased or arthritic bone is removed and replaced with a new surface, usually metal and plastic. Many patients are fearful of joint replacement and have heard stories of terrible pain after surgery, tortuous sessions of physical therapy, or a failed operation that requires more surgery. These stories are rare, and most patients have an excellent outcome with less pain, increased activity levels, and an improved quality life. In 2007 the prestigious medical journal Lancet deemed hip replacement the “Operation of the Century” due to its ability to restore a patient’s quality of life.

One of the keys to a successful outcome is choosing a center that specializes in joint replacement. Studies have shown that better outcomes are achieved in facilities that focus on hip and knee replacement. At the Center for Precision Joint Replacement at Salt Lake Regional we have a dedicated team of specialist that focus on all aspect of joint replacement surgery. In addition, we have adopted “robotic-assisted” technology to help increase the accuracy of hip and knee replacement. We firmly believe that increased precision leads to better outcomes for our patients, and as a leader in robotic-assisted surgery we are continuously striving to deliver the best results to our patients.

About the Author

After completing his undergraduate studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Dr. Schaeffer attended medical school at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver where he graduated in the top of the class and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. Following medical school, he completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Duke University where he won multiple awards for clinical and research excellence, including the award for Chief Resident of the Year.

Dr. Schaeffer recently completed his fellowship in adult reconstruction at the Hofmann Arthritis Institute where he received advanced training in hip, knee, and shoulder arthroplasty as well as robotic-assisted partial knee replacement. Other clinical interests include the direct anterior approach for hip replacement, revision joint replacement, knee arthroscopy, and lower extremity trauma. Outside of the hospital he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and children. Dr. Schaeffer is accepting new patients at Hofmann Arthritis Institute and appointments can be scheduled by calling 801.355.6468.