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Orthopaedic Surgery FAQ


  1. What is joint replacement surgery, and when is it recommended?
  2. What is bloodless surgery?
  3. What is sports medicine?
  4. What is arthroscopy?
  5. What are Dr. Harwin’s other specialties?

1. What is joint replacement surgery, and when is it recommended?

Joint replacement surgery is frequently used in the treatment of hip, and knee damage, and may be completed on a partial or total basis. This approach is most often undertaken when the deterioration or injury present limits the completion of everyday physical activities and results in chronic pain and loss of quality of life.

During a partial replacement surgery, only select compartments of the joint are replaced, while during a total replacement, the entire joint is replaced. In both approaches, the end of the natural bone will be resurfaced with a prosthesis, made to mimic the structure and function of the original joint.

Partial joint replacement may be recommended in certain cases. As the prosthesis will be subject to wear over time and as other parts of the joint deteriorated, some patients undergoing a partial replacement will require the implementation of a total joint replacement later in life.

Dr. Harwin utilizes specialized instrumentation that he helped design, as well as computer-assisted and other advanced methods during the completion of both total and partial joint replacement operations.

2. What is bloodless surgery?

Bloodless surgery entails the completion of medical procedures without the introduction of external (not originating from the patient) blood. Dr. Harwin can accomplish this because of specialized techniques and protocols that he has developed. The operation is usually done under a regional (preferred) or general anesthesia. It takes Dr. Harwin about 45 minutes to insert the implant. No significant amount of blood is lost and rarely is a transfusion needed (if a patient will accept it). Dr. Harwin is skilled in Bloodless Surgery and operates on many Jehovah’s Witnesses. He is Director of the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement Bloodless Surgery.

Although rarely needed, patients can elect to donate their own blood (autologous blood donation) prior to the surgical procedure, allowing the patient’s blood to be banked and ready for use if needed. In an attempt to minimize risks of blood loss, minimally invasive techniques are employed whenever possible.

Dr. Harwin’s expertise in bloodless surgery stems from his sensitivity to the range of religious practices undertaken by his patients, who include Jehovah’s Witnesses and others. Regardless of specific needs, he and his team will work with to provide the most comfortable surgical care possible.

3. What is sports medicine?

Sports medicine focuses on the treatment of athletes and others who have suffered sports-related injuries or wear. Within this specialized field, the major joints like the hip and knee are amongst the most susceptible to damage, often requiring both immediate and ongoing restorative care. In the case of sports-related injuries, Dr. Harwin emphasizes the use of minimally invasive approaches, as such techniques often allow for a reduced recovery time and expedited return to one’s physical activities. Common conditions treated include:

  • ACL Tears
  • Meniscal Damage
  • Chipped Bones
  • Joint and Ligament Sprains and Dislocations

Based on unique injury type and severity, Dr. Harwin will recommend a corrective approach, as well as prescribe a routine for ongoing recovery and the avoidance of re-injury.

4. What is arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy involves the examination of a joint interior using a digital camera and a fiber optic light source, and placing a surgical telescope (arthroscope or scope) that is about the size of a small drinking straw (4mm) into the joint interior. Usually on two tiny incisions are made and the joint is examined on a television screen. The entire joint is examined and then correction of the problem is performed using little “lawn-mowers” and “vacuum cleaners” to remove or repair the damaged structures.

The operation is minimally invasive and takes Dr. Harwin usually less than 20 minutes to perform. Recovery is rapid. Patients go home the same day after about 1-2 hours and can walk on it right away. Most patients are recovered by 2-3 days and may return to work within a few days or a week depending on the job and how you get to work.

At the Center for Reconstructive Joint Surgery, Dr. Harwin focuses on the treatment of arthritis with joint reconstruction and hip and knee replacement. To treat sports injuries, Dr. Harwin will refer the patient to his associate, a sports medicine and arthroscopy specialist to properly evaluate and treat the injury.

5. What are Dr. Harwin’s other specialties?

In addition to the above specialties and techniques, Dr. Harwin is an expert in:

  • Revision Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement
  • Revision of Failed Metal-on-Metal and Resurfacing Implants
  • Small incision surgery with cosmetically appealing ‘plastic surgery’-type closure of incisions. No staples or skin sutures are used.

Regardless of your injury type and care needs, Dr. Harwin and his team will emphasize individualized streamlined diagnosis and treatment, utilizing minimally invasive treatment techniques whenever possible.

To learn more about Dr. Harwin’s approach to minimally invasive diagnosis and care, contact either his Manhattan office at 212-861-9800, or his Bronx office at 718-655-2400.

By Dr. Steven Harwin