Knee replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty, might be the right option for you if you’re suffering from severe knee pain caused by arthritis, injury, or other medical conditions. This treatment can reduce your pain and increase your mobility. But knee replacement surgery is an invasive procedure that has risks associated with it. When deciding whether to undergo knee replacement surgery, consider all of the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision before undergoing the procedure. Read on to learn more about knee replacement, including how it works and its risks.
Why do people get Knee Replacements?
There are many reasons why someone might choose to get a knee replacement. Osteoarthritis, for example, is one of the most common causes of knee replacements. Over time, your body will degrade some of its cartilage—the stuff that cushions your bones and joints—and where there’s no cartilage left in a joint like your knees, you may experience pain, stiffness, and limited mobility as you age.
Successful Knee Replacements are common
According to one meta-analysis, patients’ success rates are a stunning 95% at six years. But is knee replacement really worth it? Here’s what you need to know about knee replacement surgery risks and benefits—and whether it’s right for you. First, some background: Common symptoms of knee arthritis include joint pain when walking upstairs or incline, creaky knees when bending or walking, and stiffness that limits daily activity. If these symptoms aren’t alleviated by medicine or physical therapy (or if they return after treatments have ended), you may be a candidate for knee replacement surgery.
Why is Knee Replacement Surgery necessary?
If you are suffering from severe knee pain and find yourself hobbling along on a cane or crutches, you may be thinking about getting knee replacement surgery. The pain of arthritis, rheumatoid disease, or osteoarthritis can make it difficult to carry out daily activities like walking, bending, and getting up off of chairs. Surgery is one option that could alleviate your symptoms as well as return strength and function to your knees.
Are all Knee Replacements the same?
Knee replacement surgery is done in men and women of all ages, but it is most common in those who are age 65 or older. The surgery can be done on one knee or both knees simultaneously. In spite of popular belief, you don’t have to be in constant agony to go through with knee replacement surgery. If you’ve worn out, hurt your knees to the point that you can’t participate in the activities you enjoy, talk to your doctor about knee replacement.
Potential complications of Knee Replacement Surgery
As with any surgery, there are a host of potential complications that can occur. These include, but are not limited to: Blood clots; Heart attack or stroke; Nerve damage in your arms or legs; Breathing problems; Infection. It’s important to discuss these risks with your surgeon before deciding on knee replacement as an option for you. That said, most people who undergo knee replacement surgery do not experience complications. And when they do occur, they tend to be very manageable.
How can I reduce my risk of needing a Knee Replacement in the future?
There’s no cure for arthritis, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk of needing a knee replacement in the future. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about which preventive measures may be most effective for you. For example, they may recommend wearing custom-made insoles to stabilize and cushion your feet, taking joint-friendly supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate (often marketed as Glucosamine/MSM), and stretching gently before exercise.
On average, knee replacement surgery is a good option for many people with severe arthritis. While it has risks and might not be right for everyone, knee replacement has helped millions of people move around more easily. If you are in pain every day, talk to your doctor about whether a knee replacement is right for you. They can help determine if joint-replacement surgery could relieve your pain or if alternative treatments may be more effective. Having regular discussions with your doctor regarding any chronic health conditions is an important way to manage them and prevent further complications down the road.