Knee Replacement: What You Need To Know
If your knees are causing you problems, your doctor may recommend certain non-invasive treatments, such as exercising more or taking pain-killing medications. When these types of treatments are not effective, you have another option at your disposal, namely, knee replacement surgery. This article takes a look at this important orthopedic procedure.
Several medical conditions, such as a severe injury to the knee or hemophilia, can cause your knee to become damaged to the point that surgery is necessary. The most common cause of knee pain that is severe enough to require a knee replacement, however, is osteoarthritis. This condition leads to the cartilage in your knee breaking down, which causes pain in the area and impairs the function of your knee. Medical studies show that about 90% of knee replacements are due to osteoarthritis.
You and your physician must decide together whether a knee replacement is your best option. Because this is a major surgery, your doctor will try other treatments, like cortisone injections, before considering a knee replacement. It's typically only after these less invasive options have failed, that your doctor will suggest that a knee replacement by an orthopedic surgeon should be considered.
If your knee pain and discomfort have lasted for more than six months and interfere with your daily activities, then you might be a good candidate for the surgery. Another indicator that a knee replacement might be right for you is if you have given up enjoyable activities because of your pain.
After you have decided in consultation with your doctor that a knee replacement is your best option, it's time to prepare for the surgery. One vital step is to ask questions of your orthopedic surgeon regarding the procedure. Doing this will help reassure you about the surgery and calm any fears you might have. Exercising and staying fit are also good preparatory activities, as is lining up family and friends to help you with things such as taking out the garbage or cooking meals while you are in recovery.
Knee replacements do not last forever, although in some cases they can last for 20 years or more. Factors affecting the lifespan of a knee replacement include how active the patient is, whether the patient is overweight, and the age of the patient. Elderly patients may not ever need to have another replacement, while younger patients might need a second knee replacement surgery at some point.
To learn more about knee replacement surgery, consult with an orthopedic surgeon in your city.