Knee replacement is one of the most commonly performed orthopedic procedures. It’s estimated that about one million knee replacement surgeries are performed annually in the United States. But how do you come to the decision to get knee replacement surgery?
Many physicians consider surgery as a last resort. They will majority of the time try less invasive methods of treatment. These methods might include physical therapy, medications, injections, or even laparoscopy.
How do you make that decision?
Most of the time, individuals who seek knee replacement surgery suffer from Osteoarthritis. The most common form of arthritis, this degenerative joint disease causes the cartilage that cushions the joints to break down over time. This disease is very common, affecting millions of people worldwide.
Lasting pain that doesn’t get better.
When you first started experiencing knee pain, treatment methods as easy as taking a couple of ibuprofen may have relieved your pain. Over time, these methods might work less and less at providing relief and your doctor suggests other conservative methods such as injections or physical therapy. If non-invasive methods aren’t relieving your discomfort, it might be best to talk with your doctor about surgery.
Your quality of life is affected.
Struggling to get relief from other treatments can start to affect your quality of life. The impact of your knee pain is a huge influence on whether or not you should consider surgery. If conservative and non-invasive measures are not working to relieve your pain, surgery is definitely something to discuss.
You have pain even when resting.
Knee pain is usually persistent when you’re active. But experiencing pain even when you’re resting can be debilitating and can affect the quality of your sleep. Consistent pain while at rest can make you a good candidate for surgery.
You aren’t able to be physically active.
Knee replacement surgery can improve your range of motion and function. If your pain and discomfort is keeping you from staying active, and non-invasive treatment methods just aren’t providing the relief you want, then it might be time to discuss surgery with your doctor.
You want relief that lasts.
Constantly having to keep up with medications, therapy, and injections can take a toll eventually and they don’t always guarantee permanent relief. Total knee replacement can give that long-lasting relief that people are looking for.
Total knee replacements can last for about 15 to 20 years. In younger patients, a second operation may be necessary to clean and replace worn-out implants.
How long is the recovery period?
For most, three months to one year after surgery is the standard recovery time. But many factors can affect this including your age, overall health, and the strength of your knee. Post-surgery, a treatment plan will be made to control pain, measure your range of motion, and strengthen your muscles.