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Three things that can make a knee repair turn into a joint replacement

As my numerous New York patients know, I never suggest a surgery or treatment that is not in the best interest of an individual. In fact, I strive to preserve and maintain as much of the natural joint as I can when knees are having trouble. The strategies to preserve the joint focus on repairing the mechanical balance to avoid concentrated loads. Structures, which protect the joint cartilage, include the collateral ligaments, the cruciate ligaments, and the meniscal pads. Cartilage transplants, meniscal allografts, and complex ligamentous reconstruction are all ideal treatment options for these cases. Unfortunately, these solutions aren’t always viable, and a more substantial surgery, often a total replacement, might be needed. Although every patient is different, here are a few reasons why a repair can escalate to become a replacement.

Your damage is worse than you realized

Sometimes, extensive arthritic damage is hard to detect, particularly in its early stages. When we repair your joint, it’s possible that the damage will simply continue to spread after the procedure is complete. Even when well intentioned, if the degenerative process is already set in motion, an intervention can actually worsen the condition. Keep in mind that this is often influenced by your age and how extensive the situation is.

You have the procedure done early in life

As with most procedures, the results of your repair can’t be guaranteed to last your full lifespan. We see patients younger and younger who receive some sort of partial knee replacement or repair to combat pain and mobility issues. In these situations, patients will usually remain as active, or even more on the go, than before a procedure. And this is great; after all, we want individuals to be able to live lives that they love with a level of activity that fits their needs and wants. Eventually, however, this wear of the implant and non-operated compartments will take its toll. For example, after a partial knee replacement, a total knee replacement may be needed in around 5-10 years.

Your repair fails

Another factor to consider is an unsuccessful surgery. I work hard to make sure that patients receive optimal care, even employing robotic assistance and other advanced technologies to my procedures in an effort to help things go more smoothly and reduce failure rates. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, and sometimes things go wrong. Occasionally, an individual’s body is not ready for a surgery; it might reject a technique or develop a problematic infection as it heals. I have also repaired joints that were missed treated or misdiagnosed by other physicians. These situations are never fun, but modern technology has solutions, including moving toward a total replacement joint.

Life is filled with surprises, including changes in our physical health. Whether you are getting a knee repair, undergoing a replacement surgery, or still trying to figure out what’s best for you, we’re here to help!

Posted in: Knee Replacement

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