Surgical Solutions for Bursitis: The Key to Long-lasting Relief — BIMC Hospital Bali

Surgical Solutions for Bursitis: The Key to Long-lasting Relief

Posted on : June 15, 2024

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is a common condition that occurs when the small, fluid-filled sacs called bursae, which cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles around your joints, become inflamed. This inflammation can cause significant pain, stiffness, and mobility issues, particularly in areas such as the shoulders, hips, knees, and elbows. Bursitis can be caused by repetitive movements, injury, or underlying conditions like arthritis, and it can significantly impact one’s quality of life if left untreated.


Non-surgical Treatment Options for Bursitis

Before considering surgical intervention, it’s important to explore non-surgical treatment options for bursitis. These may include:

  1. Rest and Immobilization: Resting the affected joint and avoiding activities that aggravate the condition can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  2. Ice and Heat Therapy: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce swelling and pain, while heat therapy can improve blood flow and promote healing.
  3. Anti-inflammatory Medications: Over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory drugs can help alleviate pain and inflammation.
  4. Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can develop a customized treatment plan, including exercises, stretches, and other modalities, to improve joint mobility and strengthen the surrounding muscles.
  5. Corticosteroid Injections: Injecting corticosteroids directly into the affected bursa can help reduce inflammation and pain, but the effects are typically temporary.

While these non-surgical treatments can often provide relief, some cases of bursitis may require more advanced intervention.


When is Surgical Treatment Necessary?

Surgical treatment for bursitis may be necessary in the following situations:

  1. Persistent Symptoms: If conservative treatments fail to provide lasting relief and the symptoms of bursitis persist for several months, surgery may be the next step.
  2. Recurrent Bursitis: Individuals who experience repeated episodes of bursitis in the same joint may benefit from surgical intervention to address the underlying cause.
  3. Structural Abnormalities: In some cases, bursitis may be caused by structural issues, such as bone spurs or other anatomical irregularities, which can only be addressed through surgery.
  4. Severe Mobility Limitations: When bursitis severely limits a person’s range of motion and ability to perform daily activities, surgical treatment may be the best option to restore function.


Types of Surgical Procedures for Bursitis

There are several surgical procedures that can be used to treat bursitis, depending on the specific location and underlying cause of the condition. These include:

  1. Bursa Removal (Bursectomy): This procedure involves the complete or partial removal of the inflamed bursa, which can provide long-term relief from bursitis symptoms.
  2. Bursa Decompression: In this procedure, the surgeon creates more space around the affected bursa by removing any bone spurs or other structures that may be contributing to the inflammation.
  3. Tendon Repair: If bursitis is caused by a torn or damaged tendon, the surgeon may need to repair or reattach the tendon to the bone.
  4. Joint Replacement: In severe cases of bursitis, particularly in the hip or knee, the affected joint may need to be replaced with an artificial joint to alleviate pain and restore mobility.

The specific surgical approach will depend on the individual’s unique circumstances and the expertise of the orthopedic surgeon.


Preparing for Bursitis Surgery

Before undergoing bursitis surgery, patients will typically undergo a comprehensive evaluation, which may include:

  1. Physical examination: The surgeon will assess the affected joint, range of motion, and overall condition.
  2. Imaging tests: X-rays, MRI, or CT scans may be ordered to provide a detailed view of the joint and surrounding structures.
  3. Medical history review: The surgeon will discuss the patient’s medical history, including any underlying conditions or previous injuries.

Patients may also be asked to undergo certain pre-operative tests, such as blood work or a cardiac evaluation, to ensure they are healthy enough for the procedure. It’s important for patients to follow all pre-operative instructions provided by their healthcare team to optimize the chances of a successful outcome.


The Surgical Process for Treating Bursitis

The surgical process for treating bursitis typically involves the following steps:

  1. Anesthesia: The patient will receive either general anesthesia, which puts them to sleep, or a local anesthetic, which numbs the affected area.
  2. Incision: The surgeon will make a small incision near the affected bursa to access the area.
  3. Bursa Removal or Decompression: Depending on the specific procedure, the surgeon will either remove the inflamed bursa or create more space around it to alleviate the pressure.
  4. Tendon Repair or Joint Replacement: If necessary, the surgeon may also repair any damaged tendons or replace the affected joint.
  5. Closure: Once the procedure is complete, the surgeon will close the incision using sutures or staples.

The entire surgical process typically takes between 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the complexity of the procedure.


Recovery and Rehabilitation after Bursitis Surgery

After bursitis surgery, patients can expect a period of recovery and rehabilitation. This may include:

  1. Pain Management: Patients will be provided with pain medication to help manage discomfort during the initial recovery period.
  2. Immobilization: The affected joint may be immobilized with a sling, brace, or splint to allow for proper healing.
  3. Physical Therapy: A physical therapist will work with the patient to gradually restore range of motion, strength, and function through a customized rehabilitation program.
  4. Activity Modifications: Patients may need to modify their daily activities and avoid certain movements or activities that could interfere with the healing process.

The length of the recovery and rehabilitation process can vary depending on the specific procedure, the patient’s overall health, and their adherence to the recommended treatment plan. Most patients can expect to return to their normal activities within 2-6 months, with a full recovery taking up to a year in some cases.


Risks and Complications of Bursitis Surgery

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with bursitis surgery, including:

  1. Infection: There is a small risk of the surgical site becoming infected, which can delay healing and require additional treatment.
  2. Bleeding: Some bleeding and bruising are common after surgery, but excessive bleeding may require additional intervention.
  3. Nerve Damage: Depending on the location of the surgery, there is a risk of nerve damage, which can lead to numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected area.
  4. Joint Stiffness: In some cases, the joint may become stiff after surgery, limiting range of motion and requiring additional physical therapy.
  5. Failure to Improve: In rare cases, the surgery may not provide the expected relief from bursitis symptoms, and additional treatment may be necessary.

Patients should discuss these potential risks and complications with their surgeon before undergoing any surgical procedure for bursitis.


Alternative Treatments for Bursitis

While surgical treatment can be an effective solution for many cases of bursitis, there are also alternative treatments that some individuals may consider, including:

  1. Acupuncture: This traditional Chinese medicine practice involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to help alleviate pain and inflammation.
  2. Massage Therapy: Regular massage can help improve blood flow, reduce muscle tension, and promote healing in the affected area.
  3. Herbal Remedies: Some people find relief from bursitis symptoms by using certain herbs, such as turmeric or ginger, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
  4. Dietary Changes: Adjusting one’s diet to include more anti-inflammatory foods, such as omega-3-rich fish, can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  5. Supplements: Supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, or MSM may help support joint health and reduce bursitis symptoms.

It’s important to discuss any alternative treatments with your healthcare provider, as they may interact with medications or have other potential side effects.


Conclusion: Is Surgical Treatment the Right Choice for Bursitis?

Surgical treatment for bursitis can be a highly effective solution for individuals who have not found relief from conservative, non-surgical treatments. By addressing the underlying cause of the inflammation and restoring proper joint function, surgical interventions can provide long-lasting relief and improve one’s quality of life.

However, the decision to undergo bursitis surgery should not be taken lightly. It’s essential to work closely with an experienced orthopedic surgeon to carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks, and to ensure that surgical treatment is the most appropriate course of action.

For more information on surgical solutions for bursitis, Please contact BIMC Hospital Kuta via Call Centre at +62 811 3960 8500 (WA text only), BIMC Emergency 24 Hours +62 361 761263.

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