The most common joint replacement procedure is knee replacement surgery. A number of people suffer from knee arthritis but knowing when it is the correct time to have a knee replacement can be difficult. For many there’s a great deal of confusion over knee replacement surgery and what to expect.
Most people think arthritis is the wearing away of the joint but this is actually what occurs over time from the inflammation of the joint. Arthritis actually means inflammation. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the knee. Other types include lupus arthritis, gout arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Ask Your Orthopedic Doctor if it’s Time for Knee Replacement
When knee replacement surgery is performed, the knee joint pain can’t be controlled through medication or therapy any longer and so your orthopedic doctor will go in and remove the damaged joint surface and it will then be replaced with a plastic or metal implant. Having a total knee replacement surgery is major surgery, so deciding to have this surgery is a major decision. This is a discussion to have with your orthopedic doctor.
Alternative Therapies to Knee Replacement Surgery
Treatment should start with the least invasive option and progress to total knee replacement surgery only when no other options remain. Patients that suffer only with occasional pain, those who have not tried any of the non-surgery based treatments and those who can still partake in athletic activities are not ready to have knee replacement surgery.
Non-operative treatments include the following options:
• Modify activities
• Weight loss
• Joint supplements
• Anti inflammatory medication
• Hyaluronic acid injections (i.e. Synvisc)
• Cortisone injections
Knee Replacement Implants
Your orthopedic doctor will remove the damage joint lining and then he/she will replace the joint surface with a plastic or metal implant that functions similar to what your normal knee functions. Over time, these implants are going to wear out. That’s also why knee replacements aren’t done very often in younger patients as there is the concern of the implant wearing out too fast.
Knee replacements have been modified so that they can provide the best functionality with the longest lasting benefits. The perfection of knee replacement implants is ongoing.
Steps to Knee Replacement Surgery
When knee replacement surgery is done, the bone and the cartilage at the end of the femur and the top of the tibia are removed. Precise instruments are used to create surfaces that can perfectly accommodate the implant. The plastic and metal knee implant replacement is put in place to function as the new knee joint. Depending on its condition, the surface of the kneecap might also be replaced.
Risks Associated With Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery is quite common but there are still risks associated with it. However, more than 90 percent of those who undergo knee replacement surgery have no difficulties. Discuss with your orthopedic doctor what risks you might face.
Knee replacement surgery is extremely successful, but the success is due partly to the rehabilitation that follows the knee surgery. Rehabilitation will start immediately after the surgery. You will work with a physical therapist right after your surgery. In the early stages of rehab the focus mainly on maintaining the knee’s motion and walking safely. Scar tissue will develop and if your therapist doesn’t focus on your knee motion you may not recover completely.