All Medical Procedures

A knee brace for osteoarthritis may help reduce pain by shifting your weight off the most damaged portion of your knee. This may improve your ability to get around and help increase the distance you can walk comfortably.

Knee braces come in a variety of designs, but most are constructed with a combination of rigid and flexible materials — plastic, metal or other composite material for basic structure and support, and synthetic rubber or moldable foam for padding and positioning.

Knee osteotomy is a surgical procedure that may be recommended if you have arthritis damage in just one area of your knee. The procedure involves removing or adding a wedge of bone to your upper shinbone (tibia) or lower thighbone (femur) to help shift your body weight off the damaged portion of your knee joint.

Knee osteotomy is most commonly performed on people who may be considered too young for a total knee replacement. Total knee replacements wear out much more quickly in people younger than 55 than in people older than 70.

Many people who undergo knee osteotomy will eventually need a total knee replacement — usually about 10 to 15 years after the knee osteotomy.

Knee replacement surgery — also known as knee arthroplasty (ARTH-row-plas-tee) — can help relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased knee joints. During knee replacement, a surgeon cuts away damaged bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone and kneecap and replaces it with an artificial joint made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers.

The first artificial knees were little more than crude hinges. Now, you and your doctor can choose from a wide variety of designs that take into account your age, weight, activity level and overall health. Most knee replacement joints attempt to replicate your knee's natural ability to roll and glide as it bends.

Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) eye surgery is a procedure that corrects certain vision problems, reducing or eliminating the need for eyeglasses or corrective lenses.

LASIK eye surgery is the most common type of refractive surgery. Refractive surgery changes the shape of the dome-shaped transparent tissue (cornea) at the front of your eye.

The desired result of LASIK eye surgery is to bend (refract) light rays to focus more precisely on your retina rather than at some point beyond or short of your retina.

The goal of LASIK eye surgery is to produce clearer, sharper vision.

Labor induction — also known as inducing labor — is a procedure used to stimulate uterine contractions during pregnancy before labor begins on its own. Successful labor induction leads to a vaginal birth. A health care provider might recommend labor induction for various reasons, primarily when there's concern for a mother's health or a baby's health.

Labor induction carries various risks, including infection and the need for a C-section. Sometimes the benefits of labor induction outweigh the risks, however. If you're pregnant, understanding why and how labor induction is done can help you prepare.

Laminectomy is surgery that creates space by removing the lamina — the back part of the vertebra that covers your spinal canal. Also known as decompression surgery, laminectomy enlarges your spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

This pressure is most commonly caused by bony overgrowths within the spinal canal, which can occur in people who have arthritis in their spines.

Laminectomy is generally used only when more-conservative treatments — such as medication, physical therapy or injections — have failed to relieve symptoms. Laminectomy may also be recommended if symptoms are severe or worsening dramatically.

Laryngotracheal (luh-ring-go-TRAY-key-ul) reconstruction surgery widens your windpipe (trachea) to make breathing easier. Laryngotracheal reconstruction involves inserting a small piece of cartilage — stiff connective tissue found in many areas of your body — into the narrowed section of the windpipe.

Children most commonly experience problems with a narrowed windpipe. It can occur for many reasons, including injury, infection, stomach acid reflux, a birth defect or the result of the insertion of a breathing tube. An adult's windpipe can become narrowed for the same reasons, but the cause may also be a disease that causes blood vessel or tissue inflammation, such as Wegener's granulomatosis or sarcoidosis.

The goal of laryngotracheal reconstruction is to provide a safe and stable airway without the use of assistance from a breathing tube.

Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a laser — an intense, pulsating beam of light — to remove unwanted hair.

During laser hair removal, a laser beam passes through the skin to an individual hair follicle. The intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth.

Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair.

Although laser hair removal effectively slows hair growth, it doesn't guarantee permanent hair removal. It typically takes several laser hair removal treatments to provide an extended hair-free period. Periodic maintenance treatments might be needed as well.

Laser resurfacing is a skin resurfacing procedure that uses a laser to improve the appearance of your skin or treat minor facial flaws. Laser resurfacing can be done with two types of lasers:

  • A wounding (ablative) laser, which removes thin layers of skin
  • A nonwounding (nonablative) laser, which stimulates collagen growth and tightens underlying skin

Although nonablative laser resurfacing is less invasive and requires less recovery time, it's less effective than is ablative laser resurfacing.

Laser resurfacing can decrease the appearance of facial fine lines. Laser resurfacing can also treat loss of skin tone and improve your complexion if you have scars or sun damage. Laser resurfacing does have limitations, however. Understanding the specific techniques, risks and possible results can help you decide if laser resurfacing is right for you.

Light therapy is a way to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) by exposure to artificial light. Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that occurs at a certain time each year, usually in the fall or winter.

During light therapy, you sit or work near a device called a light therapy box. The box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light.

Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood, easing SAD symptoms. Using a light therapy box may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions. Light therapy is also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy.