Surgery Definitions


Orthopedic doctors provide both surgical and nonsurgical treatments. Many orthopedic conditions, disorders, and injuries can be treated in one or more ways. Patients have many questions regarding surgery and treatments.

What is considered outpatient surgery?

Outpatient surgery does not require an overnight hospital stay; it is commonly known as ambulatory surgery or same-day surgery. We perform outpatient surgery in the NW Orthopaedic Surgery Center on the fifth floor of our downtown Spokane building. Many surgeries can be outpatient if the condition and patient's overall health meet certain criteria.

ASCs are able to provide a much lower cost for procedures because they have a lower cost structure than a traditional hospital setting. Its focused approach to outpatient surgery creates valuable cost efficiencies for the patient and lowers infection rates.

Read: Outpatient Surgery Benefits

The types of procedures performed in ASCs are broad. ASCs operate within a highly regulated industry with each facility being required to comply with rigorous oversight and certification. ASCs must comply with many of the same standards, constraints, and requirements as inpatient hospital operating rooms. 

During COVID-19, surgeons performed more outpatient surgeries when hospitals were at capacity with COVID-19 patients. Outpatient surgeries relieved the burden on hospitals and provided better patient outcomes through reduced COVID-19 exposure and lower overall infection rate. Overall, outpatient surgery has grown in popularity due to technology improvements and an increase in outpatient surgery centers, known as ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) or same-day surgery centers, which are outpatient healthcare facilities where surgical procedures are performed on patients who also do not require an overnight hospital stay.

Some of the Outpatient Procedures at NW Orthopedic Surgery Center

Note: this is only a partial list. Additionally, some procedures approved for outpatient by private commercial insurance differ from those approved by Medicare, which is currently reviewing many procedures to remove in-patient only (IPO) status.








What does arthroscopic surgery entail?

Arthroscopic surgery is a surgical procedure that is commonly performed to diagnose and treat problems within the joint and soft tissue repairs for tendons or ligaments. By using high-tech cameras, the orthopedic surgeon inserts a small instrument, called an arthroscope, into the joint. The arthroscope contains a fiber optic light source and a small camera that allow the surgeon to view the joint on a television monitor and diagnose the problem, determine the extent of the injury, and make any necessary repairs. 

How complex is joint replacement?

Joint replacement surgery is a surgical procedure that is performed to replace an arthritic or damaged joint with a new, artificial joint, called a prosthesis. Joint replacements can be performed on every joint in the body, but are most commonly performed in the knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, and ankle.

Joints contain cartilage, a soft, rubbery coating on the ends of bones, that protects joints and facilitates movement, and over time, or if the joint has been injured, the cartilage wears away and the bones of the joint start rubbing together. As the bones rub together, bone spurs may form, and the joint becomes stiff and painful. Most people have joint replacement surgery when they can no longer control the pain with medication and other treatments and the pain is significantly interfering with their lives.

Read: Outpatient Joint Replacement

What's the difference between bone fusion, internal fixation, and osteotomy?

Bone fusion joins bones with bone grafts and internal devices (such as metal rods and screws) to heal into a single solid bone.

Internal fixation treats broken/fractured bones by holding the broken bone and its pieces together in the correct position using metal plates, pins, or screws.

Osteotomy corrects a bone deformity by surgically repositioning the bone, which may be required when an old injury failed to heal properly or a congenital orthopedic deformity requires surgical intervention.

What is interventional pain management? 

Pain is frequently present in orthopedic conditions and can be debilitating. Interventional pain management allows us to alleviate or minimize your pain through different means. 

NSAIDs or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are non-prescription, over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. They are popular treatments for muscular aches and pains, as well as arthritis, and help in reducing swelling, pain, and joint stiffness.

Epidural steroid injections help decrease inflammation of spinal nerves to help relieve pain in the neck, back, arms, and legs from conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and radiculopathy. Cortisone is injected directly into the spinal canal, and some patients only need one injection to relieve pain; however, it may require two or three injections to provide significant pain relief.

Cortisone injections (also called corticosteroids) is a synthetically produced cortisone, similar to the body's own cortisone steroid. It can also be injected into soft tissues and joints to decrease inflammation. While cortisone is not a pain reliever, overall pain may diminish as a result of reduced inflammation. In orthopedics, cortisone injections are commonly used in chronic conditions such as bursitis, tendonitis, and arthritis to reduce swelling, pain, and joint stiffness.

Read: Interventional Pain Management