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Preserving vs. replacing a damaged joint

I see a lot of patients who are having knee pain and want to make a change in their lives. They are usually very excited about the idea of getting back to the activities that they love, whether that is hiking, gardening, dancing, or just spending time with family in New York and around the world. However, many often have questions about how significant their surgery has to be.

Whether you need a complete and total knee replacement or a preservation surgery depends entirely on the extent of your damage. For example, if you have years of arthritic decay, a total replacement is probably the best bet. On the flipside, if your damage is minimal and healthy parts of your joint remain, focusing on preserving those while repairing the damage to the structure is ideal.

Although it is impossible to completely predict what to expect without properly examining your joint, here are a few differences between a partial and total repair to keep in mind. As always, if you have any questions about these procedures or think they might be right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out for more information. We are happy to help you get joints that work best for your body.

Minimal and salvage repair

When it comes to preserving your joint, we focus on repairing mechanical balance to avoid concentrated loads. This might mean working to protect your joint cartilage, the collateral ligaments, the cruciate ligaments, and the meniscal pads. Cartilage transplants, meniscal allografts, and complex ligamentous reconstruction are all possible treatment options. Additionally, minimal damage can be repaired in a minimally invasive way. This is possible through arthroscopies, which focus on smaller procedures, like trimming and repairing meniscal weight-bearing pads, buffing scuffed articular surfaces, removing floating bone chips, or reconstructing cruciate ligaments. This technique is ideally suited for healthy or minimally arthritic joints, but it allows for faster recovery time and less scarring.

Partial replacements

In situations where damage involves only one compartment or area of the knee, a partial knee replacement is an ideal choice. One of the best things about this technique is that it preserves original key ligaments that help maintain ideal balance and function in a joint. The downside is that the replacement usually won’t last more than 10 years, and a revision or total replacement might be needed down the line. Because I strongly believe in the superiority of robotics and guided surgery, I will likely implement them during this procedure.

Total replacements

Some patients worry that a total replacement might slow them down, but I found that it often does the opposite. A total replacement completely illuminates problematic joints and swaps them out for mechanical devices that are free from arthritis or other damage. Patient success rates of this common procedure are incredibly high. In fact, many individuals that I talk to wish that they had done it sooner. If a total replacement is in your future, you can rest assured that I will use the most advanced technology and my many years of experience to help your surgery go as smoothly as possible.

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