Orthopedic knee surgery is a quite common medical procedure that is performed on more than 400.000 people every year. Its primer aim is to increase the mobility of the knee and reduce the pain that may be associated with different knee diseases and injuries.
The procedure covers knee replacement surgery, partial knee replacement, arthroscopy, revision total joint surgery, hemiarthroplasty, minimally invasive joint surgery, etc. Any of these surgeries requires an in-hospital stay, during which a patient should start the course of physical therapy exercises.
Who Are the Candidates for Orthopedic Knee Surgeries?
As a rule, the most common age for knee replacement is between 60 and 80 years old. Why do people require surgeries of this type? The thing is during one’s life knees are usually severely damaged by injuries and diseases and need special treatment.
Osteoarthritis is the most common condition that results in the need for surgery. It is referred to as degenerative problem that affects older or middle-aged adults. The disease is accompanied by the breakdown of joint cartilage and the adjacent bone in the knee.
However, arthritis and its rheumatoid form are not the only two problems that lead to the damage of the knee joint. To other possible problems belong:
- torn ligaments
- torn cartilage
What about Alternative Treatment?
To avoid surgical procedures, many people are looking for other treatment options that are effective enough to get rid of the medical condition without operative intervention. Though the options are multiple, not all of them are appropriate for every patient.
The surgery is regarded to be the final stage and is reserved for those, who’ve tried all other options. If you are worried about occasional pain, think of the following alternative treatments:
- weight loss
- joint supplements
- activity modifications
- cortisone injections
- anti-inflammatory medications
- hyaluronic acid injections
What to Expect from an Ordinary Orthopedic Knee Surgery?
All types of this surgery require a pre-operative health assessment of blood tests, electrocardiogram and chest x-ray. The surgeon reviews the injury or any other cause and defines the best type of the surgery.
During an operative intervention the surgeon makes small cuts around the knee, cleans them and inserts a camera, which is considered to be an essential tool in observing the injury and treating it with the help of tiny instruments.
The whole knee or its parts are substituted with plastic and metallic modules that are shaped to allow the knee joint to function in a proper way.
Typically, a surgery lasts for about 1 hour and after that a patient is placed in a recovery area. Medications help him to reduce the pain during first few days. Nevertheless, he is also to follow wound care instructions that prevent infections and promote the healing process.
Risks vs. Benefits
The aim of the procedure is to reduce pain and immobility that are mainly caused by traumatic injuries (cartilage or ligaments, the detachment of the meniscus or tearing), anatomic defects and degenerative arthritic conditions (osteoarthritis, inflammatory or infectious arthritis, avascular necrosis).
However, the procedure itself is also accompanied by various risks that every patient should be informed about:
- blood clots in veins
- blood loss
- fractures of the leg bones
- infections (early postoperative infection, acute hematogenous infection, late chronic infection, periprosthetic infection)
- instability of the kneecap
- stiffness of the knee replacement
- nerve damage
- loosening of the implanted components
The cost of an orthopedic knee surgery depends on various factors, and the type of the used implant is the main one. In any case, the surgery is usually covered by the majority of insurance plans.