What Are the Types of Orthopedic Surgeries?

Medically Reviewed on 9/27/2022
Types of Orthopedic Surgeries
The most common types of orthopedic surgeries involve trauma to the musculoskeletal system.

Orthopedic surgery is the branch of surgery concerned with conditions involving the musculoskeletal system and, at times, trauma.

Orthopedic surgeons use both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat the following:

  • Musculoskeletal trauma
  • Spine diseases
  • Sports injuries
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Infections
  • Tumors
  • Congenital disorders

There are various types of orthopedic surgeries that address different parts of the body, including musculoskeletal ailments, arthritis, trauma, and congenital deformities.

Learn the most common types of orthopedic surgeries below.

What are the most common orthopedic surgeries?

Some of the most common orthopedic surgeries include:

  • Knee replacement: The knee is one of the most used joints in the body, often overused to the point of injury.
    • The cartilage in the joint can be damaged, restricting movement or making it very painful to move.
    • Various reasons can damage the knee, including trauma to the knee, bursitis, and obesity.
  • Hip replacement: The hip is made up of the acetabulum (the socket) and femoral head (the ball).
    • The cartilage in the hip (like that in the knee) can wear over time, especially if damaged due to trauma, poor bone health, or congenital issues. 
    • There are two types of hip replacement surgeries: either the entire joint is replaced or there is the replacement of only the damaged part of the joint (Birmingham hip resurfacing).
  • Shoulder replacement: The shoulder joint is a shallow joint, which endures a lot of stress regularly, thus making it liable for damage and movement restriction.
    • Typically, the upper part of the humerus (bone in the upper arm) is removed and replaced with a metal ball (prosthesis). A plastic replacement is then inserted to replace the damaged part of the socket.
  • Joint fusion: Generally performed on the feet, ankles, spine, or fingers.
    • During this surgery, cartilage is taken from an uninjured part of the body and grafted into an area where the cartilage has been damaged. 
    • Once this is done, the bones on either side are fused to help stabilize the joint.
  • Spinal fusion: Performed to join the vertebrae together to provide more stability to the spine or to repair damage to the spine.
  • Revision joint surgery: Often required when the patient has a defective implant or when an older implant has failed.
    • Implants fail for a variety of reasons, such as polyethylene (plastic) wearing, loosening, dislocation, or deep infection.
  • Internal fixation of bones: Helps place fragments of bones together and keeps them in place using pins, screws, or plates so that they can heal.
  • Osteotomy: Helps correct the deformity in children, thus allowing bone growth.
    • Used to improve the weight-bearing position of the lower leg in people with osteoarthritis of the knee and includes procedures, such as bunion surgery.
  • Rotator cuff repair: The rotator cuff plays a key role in shoulder movement. A tear in the cuff can limit the range of motion and cause pain
    • These tears can be repaired with surgery to relieve pain and improve the strength and functioning of the shoulder.
  • Autograft (bone grafting): Biologic tissue, such as bone marrow, skin biopsy, cartilage, and bone, from the patient’s own body, is used to surgically replace damaged tissues.
    • Used to repair complex bone fractures or fractures that fail to heal properly and to treat bone tumors.
  • Laminectomy: A surgical procedure in which part of the posterior bony arch or lamina, of a vertebra, is removed allowing access to the disk.
    • Performed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots that emerge from the spinal canal and to treat a slipped or herniated disk and spinal stenosis.
  • Patellectomy: Surgical removal of the patella or kneecap after a bad kneecap fracture.
  • Reduction: A procedure that involves the manipulation of a fractured bone or dislocated joint to the correct alignment. The procedure is often called reduction with internal/external fixation.
  • Resection: A surgical procedure in which the surgeon removes part or all of a bone to ease pain and improve movement when diseased joints in the feet make walking extremely difficult. 
  • Synovectomy: Involves the removal of the diseased synovium, the joint lining that can become inflamed in rheumatoid arthritis, causing pain, swelling, and disability.


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Medically Reviewed on 9/27/2022
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Orthopedic Procedure Definitions. Canadian Orthopedic Foundation: https://whenithurtstomove.org/my-surgery/types-of-orthopaedic-surgery/

What Are the Most Common Orthopedic Surgeries? AICA Orthopedics: https://aica.com/what-are-the-most-common-orthopedic-surgeries/

Types of Orthopedic Surgery. Allegra Orthopedics: http://www.allegraortho.com/types-of-orthopedic-surgery/