ASK THE DOCTOR IN BAJA Orthopedist in Ensenada, Baja Mexico

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My orthopedist for 15 years, he has protected me from unnecessary surgeries due to injuries sustained in extreme sports competition. Injuries most surgeons were eager to “put a knife too”.

Dr. Palacios is accredited by the Mexican board of Orthopedics and founder of the Ensenada Society of Orthopedics. In addition to his Mexican credentials, he is recognized by the Sharp Institute for Orthopedics in San Diego, California..

As an old, and getting older, athlete – the loss of cartilage has plagued me with arthritic problems. I asked Dr. Palacios to address the subject of arthritis because most seniors, like myself, have suffered some form of the condition. Dr. Palacios is recognized as an outstanding orthopedic care giver on both sides of the border. And his fees for service are half what is charged by surgeons north of the border.

Osteoarthritis: A common Ailment

Osteoarthritis is caused by chronic inflammation and the wearing away of joints. The most frequently affected are: knees, hips, shoulders and the spinal column. The prevalence and capacity to cause incapacitation and even invalidism makes this a socially important disease.
Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. The loss of cartilage between the bones in joints, left untreated, will eventually lead to joint replacement.
Initial treatment of osteoarthritis focuses on the lifestyle factors predisposing the patient to the condition and non surgical intervention. Being overweight and lacking appropriate exercise are major priorities for prescribing preventive care.

The aid of anti inflammatory medicines, taken orally or topically is another “first line” of defense. And daily use of glucosamine will help to partially protect cartilage over time. In some cases the injection of cortisone in the joint will relieve symptoms of the condition.

Osteoarthritis is a gradual deterioration of the joints and surrounding skeletal system and often leads to surgical intervention depending upon the patients age, lifestyle, and preferential medical options.

Surgical procedures include the following:

Arthrodesis: a bone fusion to relieve pain, usually in the ankles, wrists, fingers and thumbs. Two bones forming a joint are joined together. The resulting fused joint loses flexibility. However, it can bear weight better, is more stable and is no longer painful.

Arthroscopy: Using a thin tool, with a light at the end, the surgeon can see directly into the joint through a small incision. The arthroscope is connected to a closed-circuit television to view degree of damage: torn meniscus cartilage (the cartilage disk in between the two articular surfaces of a joint), articular cartilage debris, synovial or joint lining tissue and ligaments. Repair is done most often in this procedure for knees and shoulders.

Arthroplasty: the rebuilding of joints. This can be done by resurfacing or relining the ends of bones when cartilage has worn away and bone has been destroyed.

Osteotomy: the correction of bone deformity. Ideally for patients with misalignment of certain joints and mild osteoarthritis. Osteotomy can correct weight-bearing joints of the knee. Also useful for unilateral hip osteoarthritis for patients too young for a total hip replacement.

Resection: the removal of part or all of a bone. When diseased joints in the foot make walking very painful and difficult, or to remove painful bunions. Resection on part of the wrist, thumb or elbow can help improve function and relieve pain.

Revision Joint Surgery: Replacement of artificial joints and damaged bone with special plastic and metal parts. Necessary when a previous joint replacement wears out.

Synovectomy: the removal of the synovium or tissues lining the joints. Reduces pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis and prevents or slows down the destruction of joints.

Total joint replacement: the removal of damaged bone or joint tissue replaced with metal, ceramic and plastic parts. Used for many years with excellent results, especially for knees and hips. Other joints, such as shoulders, elbows and knuckles, may also be replaced. This surgery has enabled many people who were severely disabled to become more active.
A year ago, I became the recipient of a double hip replacement. Two months after my operation I resumed my triple five workout: running five kilometers with a 500 foot elevation five days a week.
I feel great and I suffered for years before visiting my good friend and doctor- Francisco (Pancho) Palacios. Go see him, you’ll be glad you did.

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