Total knee replacement is a procedure where the knee joint is replaced with a prosthetic. Another term for this is knee arthroplasty, which means joint replacement or repair. This type of surgery is usually recommended for cases where there is severe joint damage that has not responded to conservative treatment options.
If you are dealing with serious knee pain as a result of injury or an age-related condition and are beginning to explore surgical options, the following guide can help. By learning more about this type of surgery and the full range of treatment options for knee pain, you can make a more informed decision that gives you the best chance of returning to a healthy and active lifestyle.
Most cases of knee pain and related mobility problems are generally caused by either injury or natural degeneration which leads to conditions such as osteoarthritis. Upon diagnosis of one of these issues, doctors will initially recommend nonsurgical treatments, such as rest, medication, physical therapy, and steroid injections. If pain and limited range of motion persists, it could be a sign of significant joint damage.
In particular, chronic joint inflammation and bone-to-bone friction related to arthritis of the knee can result in significant wear on both the upper and lower knee joints. Some patients may benefit from arthroscopic knee repairs and cleanings, while others may benefit from partial knee replacements. However, in situations where both the upper and lower knee joint endings are seriously damaged, a total knee replacement or arthroplasty will be the recommendation from surgeons.
Once a patient has been evaluated and deemed a good candidate for total knee replacement surgery, they will be given preoperative instructions to prepare for the procedure. The surgery itself typically follows these basic steps:
The surgeon will access the knee joint with one or more incisions
Upper/lower joint surfaces will be prepared, which involves removing portions of the bone
The joint surface will be replaced with a prosthetic and a medical-grade spacer to enable smooth motion between joints
The procedure may take anywhere between one to two hours. Modern total knee replacement can use minimally invasive techniques that allow for an outpatient procedure. During the recovery process, patients will follow guidelines for incision care and a timeline for resuming daily activities. Physical therapy is a key part of the process, helping patients regain strength and mobility in the new joint.
Cost is a common concern among patients and generally depends on the specific procedure, the insurance carrier, and other factors like the facility type. Medicare will generally cover total knee replacement and arthroplasty surgery that is necessary for treatment. At BEST, we work with Medicare and most private insurance carriers, as well as personal injury and workers’ compensation cases.
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If you’re suffering from knee pain that is taking you away from the people and activities you love, the caring and dedicated team at BEST Health System can help you learn about the treatment options that can help you find lasting relief. Contact us today to learn more.