According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), knee replacement surgery is one of the most successful medical procedures in the field of medicine. Every year, about 800,000 Americans get their knees replaced for various reasons. Total knee replacement surgeries recreate the knee joint with other materials to restore mobility and movement. Per the AAOS, 9 in every 10 of these replacements remain viable more than 15 years after insertion. But how do you know when to see a Mitchell Hip and Knee specialist for knee replacement? Does every knee injury warrant a visit to the surgical suite? Here is a look at five conditions that make you a viable candidate for knee replacement.
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Most knee replacement patients have one of two common types of arthritis – rheumatoid arthritis, the autoimmune disease that damages the joints, or osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear. And while these conditions have different effects on the knee, they all cause cartilage damage, which results in loss of motion and pain in the knee. Severe arthritis can be so debilitating as to make everyday activities unbearable. In this case, your doctor may recommend knee replacement for relief.
Chronic Knee Swelling
When your knee swells a lot, even after you receive other treatments, it could be a sign that your condition is not responding to treatment. This condition is usually caused by irreversible instability or cartilage degeneration in the knee. If your doctor confirms this through imaging, they may ask you to consider knee replacement surgery. This is also true for when your knee becomes knock-kneed, bowed, or otherwise deformed as your arthritis progresses.
Reduced Quality of Life
Your doctor can help you decide whether you need knee replacement depending on the effects your knee has on your quality of life. Knee injuries or conditions that do not respond to conservative therapies can cause untold pain and discomfort. Sometimes, they can make activities like walking and bending down impossible. If the pain persists even when you rest or throughout the night, knee replacement surgery might be the only way to find relief.
Ineffective Nonsurgical Treatments
When you get diagnosed with knee arthritis, your doctor often starts your treatment off with conservative treatments like physical therapy and steroid injections. If these fail to improve your symptoms, they may move you to more absolute measures like surgery. This is often the case because treatments like steroid injections fail to address the underlying problem and only mask your pain.
In most cases, knee replacement patients are people older than 60. Younger patients are discouraged from getting knee replacements because their active lifestyles can reduce the lifespan of artificial knees, and subsequent replacements are rarely as successful. That said, your doctor will perform a knee replacement regardless of your age as long as you are an ideal candidate.
Discuss Knee Replacement Surgery with Your Doctor
If your knee pain is so severe you can no longer walk up the stairs, it might be time to consider knee replacement. During this procedure, your doctor takes out the damaged cartilage and bone from your knee joint and replaces them with a prosthetic device. This treatment helps restore your mobility while alleviating your pain. To learn more, contact a certified knee replacement provider today.