Knee Replacement Surgery – Key pointers you need to know

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Knee Replacement Surgery – Key pointers you need to know

Studies suggest that Knee replacement is one of the most successful surgical interventions today, typically recommended by doctors as the last resort, only after the OA patient has explored all other remedies and options available. 

 Knee Replacement Surgery – Key pointers you need to know

1968 saw the first total knee replacement (arthroplasty) in history. Today, it is one of the most successful orthopedic procedures, with over 600,000 replacements being carried out in the U.S., 120,000 in India, and 25,000 in Australia, with each passing year. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent medical condition, for which doctors tend to suggest knee replacement surgery for extreme symptoms of OA.     

Knee replacement surgery, in a nutshell, involves applying a new layer of metal and plastic (“resurfacing”) to cap the ends of the bones that form the knee joint in those cases where the articular cartilage (i.e. the elastic tissue that covers the ends of the bones in the joint and allows them to slide past each other in a frictionless movement) is damaged on both sides of the knee. 

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Like any surgery, knee replacement or knee arthroscopy involves a certain degree of risk to the patient. Other remedies for OA include physiotherapy, corticosteroid shots, oral anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), pain-relieving creams and ointments, weight reduction, and dietary supplements. It is essential to consult one’s doctor, before making any decisions about remedies and such a surgical treatment for OA.

Knee arthroscopy is also a keyhole surgery option to explore, wherein the affected knee joint is cleaned off the damaged cartilage and bone fragments, which are extracted through a small incision in the skin using a thin tube-like device fitted with a miniature camera. 

Studies show that 9 out of 10 patients experience no or less pain and return to their daily routines in 8-12 weeks, post knee replacement surgery.   Of course, the suitability of knee replacement surgery differs from patient to patient, and you should be guided by your physician’s recommendations. Generally speaking, patientsPatients with any of the following symptoms should talk to an orthopedic surgeon to determine if knee replacement surgery is appropriate or not, based on the prevalence and severity of OA: 

  • There is persistent, moderate or severe pain, aching, stiffness, or swelling in the knee region.
  • The above condition interferes with sleep and upsets the quality of life.
  • It restricts movement significantly and impedes work and social life.
  • Any movement of the knee joint gives rise to a grating or grinding sensation.
  • The pain doesn’t seem to go away even after using NSAID.
  • The patient has a medical history of injury in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee
  • There are congenital malformations such as bowing in or out of the legs (“bow-leg”) or the knees touch each other when the person is standing straight while the feet and ankles stay apart (“knock-knees”).

 

Always consult your doctor, before making any changes in lifestyle, medication, exercise or decisions about surgical treatment for OA.

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