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Arthritis Treatment in Houston

Vivek P. Kushwaha, M.D. Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon

Arthritis Treatment in Houston

Arthritis is a common condition that affects an estimated 23 percent of all American adults — more than 54 million people — and is the leading cause of disability in the United States.

Arthritis is not a single disease, but rather a broad term that refers to joint pain or joint disease. Arthritis literally means “inflammation of a joint,” and it can affect any joint in the body (where the ends of two or more bones meet).

There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis, all of which generally fall under one of two primary categories. The first, osteoarthritis, is caused by wear and tear on the articular cartilage through the natural aging process, constant use or trauma (post-traumatic arthritis).

The second type is caused by one of a number of inflammatory processes. Inflammation is an immune response, and with some types of arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis), the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints with uncontrolled inflammation. Inflammatory arthritis can also affect the skin, internal organs, eyes and other parts of the body.

Regardless of the cause of arthritis (injury, wear and tear or disease), common symptoms of the disease include joint inflammation, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be temporary, coming and going from time to time or progressively worsening over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain and long-lasting or permanent disability.

What are my options?

Treatment for arthritis depends on the cause of the disease. Some forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can be managed with medications. Severe osteoarthritis that cannot be managed with pain medication, splints or other normally indicated treatments may be treated with a surgical procedure called arthrodesis. During this procedure, the bones that form the joint are fused together, a procedure also known as joint fusion.

Arthrodesis is most commonly performed on joints in the spine, hand, ankle and foot and used to treat symptoms such as joint pain, aching joints, joint swelling or stiffness in the joints. The procedure was once also performed for pain in the knee and hip joints, but due to the success of knee and hip arthroplasty, arthrodesis of these joints is less common and typically only used as a last resort in the knee or hip joints.

Arthrodesis can be accomplished in one of several ways:

  • A bone graft can be created between the two bones using a bone from elsewhere in the person’s body (autograft) or using donor bone (allograft) from a bone bank.
  • Metal implants can be attached to the two bones to hold them together in a position which favors bone growth.
  • New technology has been scientifically proven to be osteoinductive by Allograph Research Technologies. This allows the use of bone from tissue banks to be readily available and ground using a patented composite technology that aids in the advanced healing of bone-related surgery and growth.​

If you suffer from joint pain, contact Dr. Vivek Kushwaha, the doctor experienced in arthritis treatment in Houston.

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