Knee pain can prevent you from your daily activities. It can make staying in shape difficult because you cannot move the way many exercises require you to move. Even sit-ups and push-ups become painful if you have a damaged knee joint. However, doctors often follow a process to help minimize the pain and provide better mobility.
Medications and physical therapy are not always enough. At this point in the process, your doctor will want to discuss knee surgery. Two main types of knee surgery exist: arthroscopic and total knee replacement. Discover a few things you may want to understand about each type before talking with your doctor so you know what questions you want answered.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is minimally invasive. You will have two small incisions where the surgeon inserts the camera and tools to perform the repair. The doctor watches images from the camera on a screen in front of them. The small incisions and lack of invasive procedures makes your recovery from surgery quicker and less painful. However, you will need to follow your doctor’s orders as far as what you can and cannot do.
When the problem is a torn meniscus, the doctor will carefully slice away the torn piece and then sew a new one. The new meniscus will have been harvested from a donor body. If the problem is bone spurs or damaged bone tissue, the doctor will use a shaving tool to remove the spurs and damaged bone. Once the repair is complete, the doctor removes the tools and closes the incisions.
Arthroscopic surgery is the easier and less painful option for knee surgery. Unfortunately, it is not a viable option for everyone. If the damage to the bone is severe, arthroscopic surgery may not take care of your problems. Your doctor will also consider your age, physical condition, and activity level. If they feel this surgery will not help, they may suggest total knee replacement.
Total Knee Replacement
Total knee replacement surgery involves larger incisions and more severe intrusion into your knee joint. Once the incisions are made, the doctor will cut out any damaged bone material from your shin and femur, as well as remove the knee cap. Everything will be replaced with metal and plastic pieces that fit in place and operate as your normal knee would work.
Since the entire joint is replaced, the pain you endured due to the damage in the joint will likely be at a minimum or completely gone after you recover from the surgery. You will have increased mobility and be able to perform your daily tasks as well as most exercise routines. However, if you plan on doing any high-impact exercising, you should discuss it with your surgeon first.
A total knee replacement may wear out over time. Some patients opt for arthroscopic surgery to repair as much damage as possible. Later, when the damage increases, they will have a total knee replacement. This is done when the patient is younger so they will not have to have two total knee replacements. However, regardless of your age, if the damage is severe, you might want to have the replacement instead of the simpler repair.
If your primary care physician has done all they can for your knee pain and is recommending surgery, contact Omaha Orthopedic Clinic and Sports Medicine. We are here to help you decide which type of surgery would be better for your situation. Once decided, we will perform the surgery and work with you to help you recover and get on with your life. We look forward to speaking with you.