You Don’t Need to Live with Knee Pain
The knee is a complex collection of bone, cartilage, ligaments, and fluid that lends strength, flexibility, and stability to everyday activities. Knee pain can happen at any and can affect your general well-being and keep you from enjoying life’s simple pleasures, whether taking a morning walk, enjoying a bike ride, or playing with grandchildren. If you’re currently suffering from knee pain brought on by arthritis, injury or other causes, Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery is the right choice for treatment options to get you back to your active lifestyle.
Each of our patients is unique, and whether you require physical therapy, medication, or total knee replacement surgery, our orthopedic team is equipped to recommend and provide the solution that’s best for you.
These days, patients experience a much shorter recovery time for knee replacement – also known as total knee arthroplasty or TKA. In fact, it’s not unusual today for patients to be back on their feet the same day as surgery, with one- or two-night hospital stays the norm. Within weeks following surgery, most of our patients are back to their daily routines – returning to work and enjoying their favorite activities – with little disruption to their lives.
No doubt, knee replacement surgery has come a long way since it was first performed more than 50 years ago. Since then, improvements in surgical materials and techniques have significantly increased its effectiveness. Considered one of the most successful procedures in medicine, each year more than 600,000 hip replacement surgeries are performed in the United States according to the Agency for Health Research and Quality.
What is total knee replacement surgery?
The purpose of knee replacement surgery is to resurface damage parts of the knee joint to relieve pain that can’t be controlled by other treatments. During surgery, the kneecap is moved out of the way, and the ends of the thigh bone and shinbone are cut to fit the prosthesis. The underside of the kneecap is also cut to allow room for the artificial join. The two parts of the artificial joint – made of metal, plastic or ceramic – are affixed to the bones and kneecap using a special bone cement.
The doctor will choose a knee replacement prosthesis based on weight, activity level, knee dimensions, and general health of the patient. During surgery, which typically takes about two hours, the knee is placed in a bent position to expose all surfaces of the join.
What is the difference between total knee replacement and partial knee replacement surgery?
Partial knee replacement surgery is a less invasive alternative to total knee replacement. At times, partial knee replacement is a better option for patients with arthritis pain confined to a limited area. The procedure moves only the most damaged areas of cartilage in a specific area and replaces these surfaces. Because partial knee replacement requires a smaller incision than traditional total knee replacement, recovery time is generally a matter of weeks, versus several months required for total knee replacement.
What are the signs I may need knee replacement surgery?
Many of our patients find that it’s a challenge to perform simple activities like walking or climbing stairs. You may even begin to feel pain when you are sitting or lying down. If nonsurgical treatments like medications and using walking supports are no longer beneficial, you may want to consider total knee replacement surgery. It all starts with a consultation with an orthopedic team where your medical history will be taken, followed by a physical exam, and X-ray of the knee before receiving a diagnosis.
A knee replacement surgeon at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery may recommend knee replacement surgery if any or some of the following conditions exist:
- Knee pain fails to respond to medication, injections and physical therapy for six months or longer
- Knee pain becomes debilitating
- Knee discomfort prevents a good night’s sleep
- Arthritis in the knee has substantially damaged the joint
- Arthritis has resulted in decreased knee function
- Some tumors involving the knee
What can I do to improve my chances for a good knee replacement result?
Although each patient is different, there are several things you can do to enhance the results of your knee replacement surgery. Think about your recovery at home, and make sure you have a friend or family member to help after you get home – and remember arrange your belongings to reduce tripping hazards as you’re moving from place to place.
If your doctor has suggested you lose weight before surgery, change your diet – but maintain good nutrition both before and after surgery – and be as active as you can. Ask your doctor about strengthening exercises you can do before surgery to reduce healing time. If you’re a smoker, quit at least six weeks before your surgery. Both improper nutrition and smoking can slow down your healing.
Last, if you haven’t seen a dentist in the past two years or have loose or broken teeth, make sure you see a dentist to evaluate your dental health before knee replacement surgery. A bad tooth is a type of chronic infection.
Knee Replacement Decision, Moving Ahead
A decision to move forward with total knee replacement surgery should not be taken lightly and involves a thoughtful conversation with yourself, your loved ones, and your surgeon. Ultimately, the decision lies with you based on the effect knee pain is having on your quality of life. If your symptoms are keeping you from enjoying life to its fullest, total knee replacement surgery may be right for you.
How much is hip pain holding you back from enjoying life? If you decide that hip replacement surgery is the best option for you, the team at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery is ready to help.