Not every bursitis condition requires surgery. Typically, a bursectomy is used as a last resort. The reason is that surgery will introduce more scar tissue into your joint and requires extensive physical therapy and post-surgery treatment. If not treated correctly post-surgery, your condition can be worse than before.
A bursectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove the bursa, a cushion-like sac found in the joints. Bursae are filled with fluid that lubricates the joints for movement and removes points of friction between the bones and surrounding tissues. When an injury occurs or when a condition is present, the bursa’s synovial membrane becomes inflamed due to the overproduction of synovial fluid, leading to bursitis. This condition restricts the movement of knees, elbows, hips, and shoulders and causes pain, stiffness, and swelling.
It is essential to consult a skilled spine specialist before getting a bursectomy. Because this treatment is a last resort, they have extensive knowledge of conservative and minimally invasive treatments that are the best course to follow. After closely reviewing your condition, spine specialists can best determine whether a bursectomy is the best treatment option for you.
How to Know If You Need a Bursectomy
Patients who develop bursitis are initially advised to try conservative treatments for their condition, like taking anti-inflammatory medications. Conditions sometimes worsen over time or stop responding to conservative treatments, and then a bursectomy has to be considered to achieve long-term bursitis relief. This treatment is often considered for recurrent septic bursitis or athletes with related injuries.
Conservative methods such as medications, physical therapy, and antibiotics need to be considered first to achieve relief from bursitis. If pain and discomfort persist, a bursectomy may be necessary. Speak with a spine specialist for the best treatment options for your condition.
How Is a Bursectomy Performed?
A bursectomy is a safe and minimally invasive option for bursitis pain. The majority of joints heal without complications or further injury. Usually, patients are advised to rest following the procedure to promote recovery and to ensure the affected area is used minimally. Pain and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed after surgery to help with discomfort. After the procedure, physical therapy is also utilized to encourage further recovery of affected joints. Patients are able to achieve long-term relief and recovery, as well as regain mobility in the affected joints.
The joint is numbed locally during a bursectomy, and no sedation is used. If the physician deems it necessary, a small incision is made to open and drain the bursa. A small drain tube is then inserted into the opening and kept in the bursa for several days to remove the fluid.
Draining the fluid from the bursa may not provide relief for the patient, and the physician may opt to remove the bursa altogether. This is the case when it has thickened to the point where movement is extremely restricted, and the patient is experiencing extreme pain. The surgeon may either remove the entire bursa or opt to remove a portion of the bursa to maintain lubrication of the joint. With this method, the bursa may grow back to normal size.
An arthroscopic bursectomy is performed on patients diagnosed with trochanteric bursitis, inflammation of the bursa in the hip joint. The surgeon makes a minor incision and inserts a small camera to guide their instruments toward the bursa. Surgical tools are then used to drain fluid from the bursa. In some cases, a shaver is used to remove the bursa from the surrounding tissue.
Possible Risks and Complications of a Bursectomy
There is a possibility of complications or risks associated with a bursectomy. Some possible risks include:
- Infection at the incision site: Antibiotic medications can reduce this risk. If left untreated, it may develop into necrosis or skin death.
- Possibility of recurrence: The condition may reoccur if the joint endured excessive weight when it was not completely healed.
- Possibility of reduced mobility: There is a possibility that the patient may have reduced mobility long after a bursectomy was performed. This may even be permanent.
It is best to follow the treatment plan as advised by the physician or surgeon to reduce the risk of complications during a bursectomy.
Beat Bursitis with Our Spine Specialists at NJ Spine & Orthopedic
At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, we specialize in providing outstanding conservative and minimally invasive options for bursitis. Our surgeons, physicians, and medical staff are knowledgeable in assessing your condition and creating a personalized treatment plan that is unique to you.
If you are living with bursitis pain and conservative options are not helping your condition, consult our specialists to find out if a bursectomy could help alleviate your pain and symptoms. Call (866) 272-9271 or fill out our contact form for a consultation today.