What Is Knee Replacement Surgery And When Is It Necessary?

Knee replacement surgery is the surgical procedure involving the surgeon cutting away damaged bone and cartilage from the thighbone, shinbone and kneecap, and replacing it with an artificial joint (prostheses) of metal and plastic components shaped to allow continued motion of the knee.

Usually knee replacement surgery is contemplated by those that have acute knee pain or disability that results from problems such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.

The kind of pain and disability that require knee replacement surgery are more common among the elderly.

Firstly, before opting for knee replacement surgery, other possible causes for knee pain such as meniscus tears, cartilage defects, and ligament tears should be ruled out.

Secondly it should be considered when other options have been considered and tried out. Often physiotherapy has been seen to significantly improve the pain levels that that may then not require the more extreme option of a knee replacement. [arthritis treatment]

Thirdly, Knee replacement surgery should be considered only by persons who suffer from debilitating pain in the knee that is causing restriction of movement or the inability to perform certain tasks. If the knee pain is very acute and interfering with daily activities or doing things that one enjoys, then knee replacement can be an option.

The surgery can re-enable a person to engage in moderately vigorous activities like cycling, swimming, golfing etc. However the surgery will not be able to restore the ability to engage in more vigorous activities like funning, sports requiring running or load bearing for the knees like soccer, tennis or skiing.

Knee replacement surgery can be complete or partial in nature. Partial knee replacement or unicompartmental arthroplasty may be indicative for those who have less damage in the knee or damage that is restricted only to one or other ‘compartments’ of the knee.

This is preferable to complete knee replacement since it means a smaller incision, easier post-op rehabilitation, shorter hospital stay, less blood loss, lower risk of infection, stiffness, and blood clots, and easier revision if necessary. In favor of total knee replacement surgery, many surgeons opine that this is a more reliable procedure in the long term.

Like all surgeries, this one also carries with it the usual risk of infection; additionally there is also the risk fractures, which can happen during or after surgery, loss of motion, instability and in rare cases also of deep vein thrombosis in this kind of surgery.