The decision to undergo knee replacement surgery is a serious one that should be made after careful consideration and consultation with a qualified medical professional. However, it's also important to discuss the dangers of delaying knee replacement surgery for those who truly need it.
The truth is that for some people with advanced knee problems, knee replacement may be the best option to relieve pain and improve their quality of life. If you're in chronic knee pain and your knee function is seriously compromised, knee surgery may be the best way to get your life back.
At , the team at our specializes in all types of joint replacement surgery, including knee replacement. We're passionate about helping people achieve relief from knee pain using the least invasive, most effective methods possible.
If you're unsure whether or not it's time to have your knee replaced, here are some important facts to know, as well as five signs that it may be time to move forward with the procedure:
What is a Knee Replacement?
A knee replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace the damaged or worn-out surfaces of the knee joint with new artificial components.
This surgery is usually performed when other treatments, such as physical therapy, oral pain medications, and injections, have failed to relieve chronic knee pain.
There are a few types of knee replacements, including:
- Total knee replacement: Total knee replacements are the most common type of knee replacement surgery. In this procedure, both the inner (medial) and outer (lateral) compartments of the knee joint are replaced.
- Partial knee replacement: Partial knee replacements are less common than total knee replacements. In this procedure, only one compartment of the knee joint is replaced.
- Revision knee surgery: Revision surgery is performed when a previous knee replacement has failed or is not functioning properly. In some cases, revision surgery may be required to remove and replace an artificial knee joint.
All of these procedures are performed with the goal of relieving pain and restoring function to the knee joint.
How Does Knee Replacement Surgery Work?
Knee replacement surgery is performed under general anesthesia. This means you will be asleep and pain-free during the procedure.
During the surgery, the damaged surfaces of the knee joint are removed and replaced with new artificial components, which may be made of metal, plastic, or ceramic. These artificial components will mimic the function of the natural knee joint and provide pain relief and improved mobility.
In some cases, a spacer may be placed between the components of your new joint to help with joint lubrication and allow for a more natural range of motion.
What Are the Benefits of Knee Replacement Surgery?
Knee replacement surgery can provide a number of benefits, including:
- Relief from chronic knee pain: For most patients, knee replacement surgery is successful in relieving chronic knee pain that has not responded to other treatments.
- Improved mobility: Knee replacement surgery can also improve your range of motion, giving you as much function as possible and helping you regain the ability to perform everyday activities like walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of cars.
- A more active lifestyle: For many people, knee replacement surgery leads to a significant improvement in their quality of life and allows them to return to activities they enjoy, such as golfing, gardening, and dancing.
Why Shouldn't I Delay Knee Replacement Surgery?
If you're experiencing chronic knee pain, it's important to talk to your doctor about all of your treatment options, including knee replacement surgery.
Waiting too long to have surgery can lead to a number of problems, including:
- Worsening pain: Many patients who wait too long for replacement surgery report that their pain only worsened over time. This can make it more difficult to perform everyday activities and may even make it difficult to get around.
- Joint damage: If you delay surgery, the damage to your knee joint will likely worsen. This can lead to a loss of function and mobility and may even require revision surgery.
- Increased risk of injury: Knee pain can make it difficult to walk, climb stairs, and participate in other activities. This can increase your risk of falling and sustaining a serious injury.
If you're experiencing chronic knee pain, don't wait to talk to your OAA specialist about treatment options. Knee replacement surgery may be the best option for you.
5 Reasons You May Need a Knee Replacement Now
1. You Have Knee Osteoarthritis or Another Chronic Knee Condition
Knee arthritis is the most common reason for knee replacement surgery. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that breaks down the cartilage in your joints, causing chronic pain and inflammation.
Other chronic knee conditions that may lead to knee replacement surgery include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: Post-traumatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that develops after an injury to the knee, such as a fracture or ligament tear.
- Osteonecrosis: Osteonecrosis is a condition that occurs when the blood supply to the bone is cut off, causing the bone to die.
2. You're Not Healing After An Injury or Surgery
If you've sustained an injury to your knee, such as a fracture or ligament tear, and you're not healing properly, you may need knee replacement surgery.
In some cases, previous surgery on the knee, such as a meniscus repair, may not have been successful in relieving pain and improving joint function. Joint replacement surgery may be necessary to correct the problem.
3. You Live an Active Life
For those who live an active lifestyle, the loss of function that accompanies chronic knee pain can be devastating not just to their body, but to their emotional health. Knee replacement surgery can help patients regain their mobility and return to the activities they enjoy.
4. Your Pain Interferes With Your Daily Life
Chronic knee pain can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of cars. If your pain is interfering with your quality of life, replacing your knees may be the best option.
5. Nonsurgical Treatments Aren't Working
If you've tried nonsurgical treatments, such as medication, weight loss, and physical therapy, and they haven't worked to relieve your pain, it may be time to consider knee replacement surgery.
In some cases, patients who have had previous surgeries or injuries may not be candidates for nonsurgical treatments. In these cases, a knee replacement procedure may be the only option.
Visit the Top Knee Specialist Near You
Too many people wait too long to have life-changing knee replacement surgery when it's one of the most successful surgical procedures for helping patients find long-term relief. If you're experiencing chronic knee pain, don't delay in seeking treatment. The sooner you see an orthopedic surgeon, the sooner you can get relief from your pain and get back to the activities you enjoy.