Patrick A. Meere, M.D.

Is Knee Joint Preservation Right For You?

Knee pain is a real and serious issue in New York and across the country. Men’s Journal reports that everyone from Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan to Rafael Nadal and Tom Brady experience it. Chances are that people in your life, and maybe even you yourself, also deal with knee woes. If that’s the case, you might be looking into solutions for treating it.

One of the more commonly discussed options for tackling knee joint pain is a total knee replacement. Indeed, a knee replacement can be a life-changing surgery, especially if you are experiencing chronic and debilitating pain that makes it difficult to do everyday activities and gets in the way of the things that you enjoy. However, a total joint replacement is a significant surgery and should only be considered as the last resort for treating your aches and mobility issues. Joint replacements are usually reserved for individuals with advanced arthritis or a history of knee surgeries and issues. When a joint replacement does occur, I make sure that we preserve as much of the natural joint as possible. This helps ensure that movement continues to be as natural and as fluid as possible.

The best way to determine if you are a candidate for a knee replacement is to have a thorough evaluation by an experienced physician. We’ll do a comprehensive physical, discuss your medical history, and evaluate the extent of any arthritic or cartilage-related damage. We’ll also need to talk about and evaluate your current physical routines and your age. Sometimes, delaying a complete joint replacement is the most logical route for preventing multiple surgeries down the line.

Even if you aren’t to the point where a total replacement makes sense, don’t fear. Thanks to increased types of surgical methods, you don’t have to continue to live with pain. In fact, knee joint preservation surgery might just be the ideal solution for your situation. Instead of replacing your natural joint completely, preservation surgery focuses on repairing the mechanical balance of your joint to avoid concentrated loads as you exercise and live out your daily routine. Precise treatments will depend on your exact situation, but cartilage transplants, meniscal allografts, and complex ligamentous reconstruction are all examples of strategies for combating advanced mechanical erosion by shifting and supporting your current and existing structures.

There’s no perfect answer for knee pain, and all individuals differ in what’s best for them, but ideally, these options will protect your existing joint cartilage and delay or prevent the need for more extensive procedures in the future.

If you are on the fence or have questions about a total knee replacement, take comfort in the fact that you aren’t the only one. In fact, patients enter under my care with the exact concerns on a weekly basis. I would be happy to talk with you about your options and develop a treatment plan that fits your specific situation, needs, and goals.