Is It Time To Consider Total Knee Replacement?

Our knees enable us to do everyday physical activities like walking, running, jumping and climbing stairs. But when the knees become damaged through arthritis or injury, they can be a source of daily pain and discomfort.

Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of chronic knee pain. Damage to the joint structure and surrounding tissues can cause inflammation and discomfort which decreases mobility and makes daily tasks difficult to perform. Other causes of chronic knee pain include trauma, destructive joint diseases and rheumatoid arthritis.

For patients with severe damage to the structure of the knee, total knee replacement is a safe and effective option that can alleviate symptoms and restore joint function. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 90 percent of patients who undergo knee replacement surgery experience a significant improvement in their symptoms. During total knee replacement, a surgeon removes any damaged bone and cartilage from the kneecap, thighbone and shinbone. The surfaces of the bone are then shaped to be fitted with a plastic or metal prosthetic joint. The joint is attached to the end of the thighbone, shinbone and kneecap with cement or a special adhesive. When the ends of the joint fit together, they restore alignment and function to the knee (Source: WebMD).

Knee replacement surgery was traditionally performed as an inpatient procedure, but medical developments and improved techniques now allow total knee replacement to be safely and effectively completed in an outpatient setting. Many ambulatory surgery centers, or ASCs, now perform total knee replacement surgeries with excellent results and high rates of patient satisfaction. ASCs are equipped with state-of-the art technology and highly trained staff to provide patients with the highest level of care, and limited operating costs mean patients typically pay much less out-of-pocket than they would at a hospital. One study found that patients saved anywhere from $363 to $1,000 per procedure by using ASCs instead of hospitals (Source: Fierce Health Finance).

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 600,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed in the United States each year, making this procedure one of the most common types of bone surgery in the country. Total knee replacement is low-risk and highly effective, but only your doctor can determine whether it is the right treatment for you. If you have questions about chronic knee pain or total knee replacement surgery, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or orthopedist.