When non-surgical treatment options for knee arthritis are not much helpful, knee surgery is recommended to relieve the symptoms of arthritis. Here is some useful information about knee surgery for arthritis treatment.Arthritis is a degenerative disorder of joints, which causes the breakdown of cartilage, resulting in inflammation and swelling of joints. Osteoarthritis is the common form of arthritis, which affects knee joints. Knee arthritis is also caused by gout, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis or infection. Age (people above 50 years), being overweight, knee injuries, trauma, ligament damage, deposition of uric acid crystals and abnormal body structure are the risk factors for knee arthritis.
A person with knee arthritis may experience knee pain during activities, joint swelling and tenderness, stiffness of knee, cracking noise and limited range of motion. Knee arthritis is diagnosed with the help of physical examination and findings of imaging tests such as X-ray and MRI scan. Knee arthritis can be treated using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), knee support braces, physical therapy, muscle relaxants and heat and cold treatments. Since obesity is one of the risk factors for knee arthritis, losing excess weight and maintaining a normal body weight is an important regimen for knee arthritis treatment. A well-planned exercise program can help to reduce the stiffness in knee joints and improve the range of motion. When these treatment options are not helpful in relieving the symptoms, an orthopedist may recommend the knee surgery. Read on to know about different surgical options for arthritis treatment.
Knee arthritis can be treated with various surgical methods such as synovectomy, osteotomy, arthroscopy, arthroplasty, unicompartmental knee replacement and total knee replacement. Knee surgery for arthritis treatment is aimed at relieving joint pain, reducing joint stiffness, and improving range of motion as well as appearance of deformed joints.
Arthroscopy: Arthroscopy is the surgical procedure, which provides a direct view of the joint structure with the help of arthroscope. Since arthroscope is attached to closed-circuit television, arthroscopic surgery can be used to determine the type of arthritis and the amount of damage to knee joint. Arthroscopic knee surgery can be performed under local anesthesia. Arthroscopic clean-out is beneficial in case of mild to moderate knee arthritis. However, the benefits of arthroscopic surgery are temporary and symptoms may reappear after some duration.
Synovectomy: This procedure can be performed as an open surgery or using an arthroscope. In this surgical procedure, diseased synovium (soft tissue joint lining) is removed. This helps to reduce joint pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis. But, the results may be temporary and synovium may grow back after some years.
Osteotomy: In most case of knee arthritis, some deformities of leg may develop such as bowleg or knock-knee, which can worsen the symptoms of knee arthritis. These deformities can be corrected with the help of osteotomy. This surgical procedure involves cutting and repositioning the bone, either tibia or femur bone, due to which the alignment of leg is improved. This helps to relieve pain and manage the symptoms of arthritis.
Arthroplasty: Arthroplasty involves rebuilding of knee joints. It is also referred to as total joint replacement, in which a part or entire arthritic joint is removed. Generally, it is replaced with ceramic, plastic or metal parts. In this surgical procedure, the end of bone where cartilage has worn away is resurfaced. This procedure enables many disabled people to regain knee joint activity.
Unicompartmental knee replacement: It is also known as partial knee replacement. This surgical option is considered to be a good treatment option for osteoarthritis of knee joint. Out of two compartments of knee, only one compartment may be affected by arthritis, while other may be normal. This minimally invasive surgical procedure involves replacement of only damaged parts of one compartment. This surgery is beneficial for people with severe knee arthritis. Major benefits of partial knee replacement surgery are smaller incision, less blood loss and shorter duration for recovery. This surgery helps to reduce symptoms and improves range of motion. But, the main disadvantage of unicompartmental knee replacement surgery is that non-replaced knee compartment may deteriorate over time.
Total knee replacement: Total knee replacement is necessary in most cases of knee osteoarthritis. People with hampered joint mobility, malfunctioning knee joints and limited activities due to joint pain and swelling are recommended to undergo this surgery. In this surgical procedure, the ends of damaged lower leg bones and thighbones as well as kneecap are replaced with artificial implants made from plastic or metal. The artificial joint is connected to shin, thighbone and kneecap using cement or a special material. There are different types of knee replacement implants such as cemented knee replacements and press-fit knee replacements. The complete surfaces at the ends of thighbone and lower leg bone are replaced. Most often, general anesthesia is preferred for joint replacement surgery. Knee replacement implants can last for about 10-15 years in 90-95% of patients. Total knee replacement surgery helps to relive pain and stiffness in joints to improve mobility and functioning of knee joints.
Knee surgery is one of the most effective options for arthritis treatment, which helps to relieve painful symptoms of arthritis and restore normal functions of knee joints. This enables a person to perform daily routine activities with much ease.
By Reshma Jirage
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If you don’t like or want knee surgery for most arthritis or meniscus injury, you don’t have to have it.