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Knee Replacement Surgery for Osteoarthritis

Knee pain when climbing

The knee is one of the hardest working joints in the human body. It’s responsible for bearing most of the body weight while still retaining superb flexibility that powers the dynamic, athletic movements the human body can make. While it remains a marvel of natural engineering that the knee can perform flawlessly for years, the condition known as osteoarthritis of the knee can damage the joint and lead to incredible pain, limiting function for those who suffer from it. In cases where the deterioration of the joint is extreme, joint replacement in the knee may be the best treatment option for long-term success.

Today, knee joint replacement surgery in Atlanta can offer sufferers of severe osteoarthritis pain an effective option for regaining use of the knee and reducing pain associated with the damaged joint. While you should always consult with an orthopedic physician about joint replacement surgery, there are some factors you should consider before deciding whether surgery is the right treatment option. Keep reading to learn what you should consider when it comes to knee replacement surgery for osteoarthritis.

First, Try Noninvasive Therapies for Knee Osteoarthritis

Before deciding to undergo a knee replacement surgery, a patient suffering from osteoarthritis in the knee should first undertake a few nonsurgical therapies that could produce desirable results without knee surgery. Initial non-surgical treatment options that may be recommended for knee osteoarthritis include weight loss to reduce stress on the knees, anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the amount of swelling in the affected joint which can reduce the amount of pain you feel in your arthritic knee or knees, physical therapy to restore range of motion, and avoiding activities that can cause the knee to be further stressed. Additional non-surgical treatment recommendations include heat and cold therapy, injections of steroids, and the use of knee braces and supportive devices. If your quality of life hasn’t improved as a result of these nonsurgical therapies, then it may indeed be time to consider a knee replacement surgery.

Common Knee Replacement Indicators

There may be other indications that it’s time to consider knee replacement surgery aside from the inefficacy of nonsurgical treatments. If your knee pain not only persists but worsens despite nonsurgical therapies, that’s a sign a knee replacement may be in your future. If your ability to move easily or climb stairs is diminished by your knee pain or rigidity, that could also be an indication that a knee replacement is your best treatment option. If you can’t sleep due to persistent knee pain or you have trouble rising from a sitting position after long periods due to pain and stiffness, consult with your orthopedic physician about the potential need for a knee replacement.

Doctor examining knee

Different Types of Knee Replacement Surgery

Here are the primary types of knee replacement surgery performed today by orthopedic surgeons. In each type of knee replacement surgery, the orthopedic surgeon resurfaces all or part of the knee and replaces it with artificial components, called implants.

  • Total Knee Replacement - The most common type of knee replacement surgery is total knee replacement. In total knee replacement, the orthopedic surgeon removes damaged bone and cartilage in the shinbone and femur (thighbone) and replaces it with the knee implant components.
  • Partial Knee Replacement – Unicompartmental knee replacement, commonly referred to as a partial knee replacement or uni-knee, is possible in patients with strong knee ligaments who only have arthritis impact on one side of the knee. Only the damaged part of the knee needs to be replaced.
  • Kneecap Replacement – Though less common, in patellofemoral arthroplasty, or kneecap replacement surgery, the underside of the kneecap is replaced.
  • Complex Knee Replacement - Complex knee surgery is reserved for the most severe cases of osteoarthritis, or for patients who have already had several knee replacement surgeries. 
  • Revision Knee Replacement - In a revision knee replacement procedure, some or all of the parts of the original implant are removed and replaced with new components.

Of course, your orthopedic physician will counsel you on the best surgical course of action for the specific condition of your knee. Some types of knee surgery may not be feasible in your circumstance.

If you suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee and have considered whether it’s time for a knee replacement, be sure to consider these factors alongside advice from your orthopedic care provider. To learn more about the things you should consider regarding knee replacement surgery for osteoarthritis, contact OrthoAtlanta at (770) 953-6929.

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