What’s the need for knee replacement surgery?
The need for knee replacement arises when arthritis or any other physical injury leaves your knee in a damaged state. If climbing stairs, or even walking becomes a miserable activity, and pain is felt even when you lie down or just remain seated, then considering total knee replacement surgery is the ideal solution.
It is assumed that all non-surgical treatments like medications and use of support while walking have been tested, and was found to be ineffective.
What's changed with time in relation to knee replacement surgery?
Knee replacement surgery has undergone numerous refinements over the years, and at this particular period of time with numerous improvements in techniques used, technology employed, and materials in use, this surgery is proven to be very safe, effective, and has helped relieve and eliminate pain, correct deformities of the leg, and has helped people get back to the regular activities of their life.
Understanding knee replacement
Arthroplasty is what knee replacement is also known as. For orthopedic surgeons performing a knee replacement surgery, the procedure they see it as is more or less "resurfacing" the surface of the bones involved.
Knee replacement involves a 4 step procedure:
1. Preparation of the bone
This involves removing the damaged cartilage surfaces found at the ends of the bones, femur and tibia. The surgeon usually as part of the preparation will as well remove a small segment of the underlying bone.
2. Replacement with metallic implants
The cartilage surface that was removed in the previous step is now replaced with metallic counterparts, thus recreating the joint's surface. The orthopedic surgeon performing the replacement may choose to either cement the metallic implants in place, or just "press-fit" it to the bone.
3. The patella is resurfaced
The patella, or the kneecap's undersurface is cut up by the orthopedic surgeon and a procedure of resurfacing of its surface is carried out. As part of this resurfacing procedure a plastic button is placed. It is at the orthopedic surgeon's discretion whether to, or not to resurface the patella, and is decided on a case-by-case basis.
4. Spacer insertion
A spacer made of medical-grade plastic is inserted into the space that exists between the metallic components so as to create a smooth surface, which in turn leads to a smooth operation of the components.
When's knee replacement surgery a necessity?
It's entirely the treating orthopedic surgeon's call. However, as discussed previously, people with the following conditions benefit hugely from a total knee replacement surgery:
1. Knee pain that's very severe - as discussed when a person is unable to carry out regular activities including walking, climbing stairs, getting into a seating position, or getting out of a chair without experiencing severe pain.
2. Experiencing severe pain even while resting irrespective of the time of the day or night.
3. Swelling in the knee or inflammation that is chronic and is not improving with medications.
4. Deformed knees - knees are either bowed inwards or outwards.
5. Not responding to alternate treatments - Not seeing improvements despite use of anti-inflammatory medications, lubricating injections, cortisone injections, physiotherapy, alternative corrective surgeries.
Consider visiting an orthopedic surgeon when your knees hurt badly. The doctor will assess your condition and decide on the course of action that needs to be taken. Do not try putting up with the pain when the doctor has within his means techniques, technology, and devices that can relieve or totally eliminate the pain once and for all, and all the while ensuring that you get back to doing the things that you love doing the most in your life.
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