If you’re experiencing chronic and severe knee pain, you may have a condition known as osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage or tissue that protects and cushions the knee joint wears away. If you have consulted with your orthopedic doctor who has suggested that you may need a total knee replacement, you are not alone. Research shows that every year, more than half a million Americans choose to undergo the procedure.
When a person has osteoarthritis, bone rubs against bone, which can be extremely painful. Others may have the other most common type of arthritis called rheumatoid arthritis, causing joint inflammation, pain, and limited mobility. With either form of arthritis, long-term effects can even result in bone deformity, as the swelling and friction in the joint leads to structural changes.
Many patients put off getting a total knee replacement, unless the pain and mobility problems become unbearable. It often takes time come to terms with needing a knee replacement. Surgery is, after all, a big deal.
Doctors feel it wise to turn to less invasive treatment options first, such as anti-inflammation medication, physical therapy, and strengthening exercises, in hopes that these methods will help your knee improve and make the need for surgery unnecessary.
Like any major surgery, there is always a level of risk that your doctor will discuss with you. A total knee replacement is a surgery that involves a long recovery and rehabilitation process, which often leads patients to asking the question, should I undergo a total knee replacement?
Truth is, there is no exact method for determining when a total knee replacement should be performed, because not everyone is a candidate. Prior to determining if a total knee replacement is the right course of action, your orthopedic surgeon will do a thorough examination of your knee using MRI or X-rays, and go over your medical history.
Here are signs that the time might be right for a knee replacement:
- Other treatments besides surgery have not worked to ease your pain.
- You have difficulty performing everyday tasks.
- You need the aid of durable medical equipment (DME) such as a cane, wheel chair, or walker to get around.
- Your pain is severe and chronic, even when your knee is at rest.
- Your knee has become degenerated from conditions such as arthritis, or from injury.
There are always new and emerging techniques and technology that helps to streamline and enhance the surgical procedure, often providing a more successful and pain free outcome. To learn more about the signs that is time to get a total knee replacement, call Dr. Bill Hefley at (800) 336-2412 to request an appointment, or request one online.