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Game Changer: The Benefits of Knee Replacement Surgery

The secret is out… Knee replacement surgery changes lives. From a former marathon runner who was starting to have trouble climbing stairs until the procedure, to a Brooklynite who went from struggled walking to kayaking and hiking, the procedure has improved the lives of many. Each year, hundreds of thousands of knee replacements are performed in the U.S. (and several of those are done by me). I have seen countless lives improve as a result of the procedure, and each instance brings me great joy.

Recently, the New York Times ran an article discussing the benefits of the procedure. In it, they cited research that indicates that, when compared with nonsurgical therapy alone, knee replacement surgery is better at relieving pain and improving function in patients with severe osteoarthritis.

So, how do you know if you’re a candidate for the surgery? It’s frustrating to have chronic knee pain that prevents you from staying active and doing the things that you love. When the hurt, stiffness and loss of mobility that comes with aging, mechanical damage and arthritis are no longer acceptable, you are ready for the procedure.

While no surgical decision should be made lightly, a total knee replacement is a routine procedure in my office. During the operation, your worn-out cartilage cap will be trimmed and chamfered, allowing for the insertion of a replacement metallic cap. As healing occurs, you can expect continued post-operative exercises and physiotherapy. On average, these replacements will last 15-20 years, but the advent of improved wear properties of modern materials means that many patients will be able to use their prosthesis for years beyond that.

Of course, total knee replacements are not the best choice for all patients, and I take pride in working with each client that comes through my door to determine the best option for treatment.

Knee joint preservation is a common alternative and can help repair the mechanical balance of the join forces to avoid concentrated loads. And, depending on the total damage to your knee, a partial knee replacement might be an ideal option. If the problem is mostly located in one area of the knee, you might be a candidate for this procedure. Partial replacements are delicate, so they involve the use of robotics and guided surgery to help ensure accuracy. While there are many benefits to the surgery, including the preservation of key ligaments that contribute to optimal balance and function in the joint, longevity of the implant is not as high as with a total replacement, which might still be needed after five or more years of active use.

No one should live in pain. If you are ready for a life-altering procedure, come see me to discuss your knee replacement options.

Posted in: Knee Replacement

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