Hundreds of thousands of Americans have knee replacement surgeries done each year, and in over 90% of them this type of surgery greatly improves their lives. When you have severe arthritis in your knees, it can cause chronic pain and your leg to give out on you, making it difficult to complete everyday tasks.
Certain problems with the knees can also cause you to be in constant pain, which isn’t relieved with the use of pain medication. When other methods have failed to resolve the issue with your knee, a knee replacement could be the answer.
Causes of Knee Pain and Disability
The most common cause of chronic knee pain and disability is arthritis. There are many different forms of arthritis that can occur, but the following types are most common when it comes to arthritis in the knees.
– Osteoarthritis: This type is generally age-related and occurs when a lot of wear and tear has occurred to the knee area. While it is generally seen in people who are over the age of 50, it is sometimes seen in the younger generation as well. With this type of arthritis, the cartilage becomes damaged and the bones no longer have the cushion they need, causing the bones to rub together.
– Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is a condition caused by a disease, which affects the synovial membrane. This membrane surrounds the joint, causing the joint to become thick and inflamed. When the inflammation is chronic, the cartilage will eventually become damaged and lead to pain, stiffness, and further loss of tissue.
– Post Traumatic Arthritis: This condition occurs when there has been a traumatic injury to the knee area. When the bones are fractured, or the ligaments are torn due to the injury, damage to the cartilage occurs, and eventually, this can limit the proper function of the knee.
Reasons for a Total Knee Replacement
A total knee replacement is deemed necessary when you fall within a few different categories. Those who suffer with pain and stiffness in the knee are good candidates for a total knee replacement when all conservative treatment has failed. This may include difficulty with walking, climbing the stairs, and even standing up from a sitting position.
Those who suffer from moderate to severe knee pain, even when they are resting, will also benefit from this surgery. When inflammation in the knee is chronic, and doesn’t improve with rest or medication, a total knee replacement may be used to correct the condition. Prior to undergoing the surgery, there are conservative options such as injections, bracing and physical therapy.
Dr. Raj, who is an Award Winning, Double Board Certified Beverly Hills orthopedic surgeon, offers the following types of injections for knee pain relief:
- Cortisone Injections
- Hyaluronic Acid Injections (e.g. Synvisc)
- Stem Cell Injections – Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy and Bone Marrow Derived Stem Cell Injections and Amniotic Derived Stem Cell Injections
In certain cases, a deformity of the knee, such as it bowing in or out, may require a total knee replacement in order to prevent damage to the areas surrounding the knee. This type of treatment is also commonly used for other knee disorders that did not respond to treatments, such as physical therapy, injections, and prior surgeries.
When your knee joint is severely damaged, a knee replacement can offer you pain relief and the ability to function once again. With this surgical method, the Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon makes an incision near the joint and removes the damaged cartilage that is going to be replaced. Around your thighbone, the surgeon will remove damaged pieces of bone and cartilage. By removing these pieces from the area, the surgeon can create the room needed to install the new knee prosthesis for replacement.
The prosthesis used to replace the knee is made up of various materials including metal, high grade plastic, and polymer. The specific size of the knee replacement is catered to the patient’s anatomy.
After the knee replacement surgery is over, a short stay in the hospital is required to monitor the healing of the area and ensure that an infection does not occur. After you are released, physical therapy helps you regain mobility and strength in the knee. It can take some time to heal from a knee replacement surgery, but taking the right steps and allowing for proper recovery time will speed up the process.