As you get older, you may start to wonder about knee replacements. How do you know you need a knee replacement? What are medical conditions that could lead to a knee replacement? If you do need one, what are your options?
A knee replacement is a surgery in which damaged and worn bone and cartilage is removed from your knee by a surgeon. Your surgeon replaces the damaged tissue with metal, plastic, or polymer so your knee can function like it used to.
Conditions that Can Lead to a Knee Replacement
There are several medical conditions that can lead to a knee replacement, the most common of which is arthritis. Here are common causes for a knee replacement:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Arthritis caused by damage or injury to the knee
- Bowed legs
Signs You May Need a Knee Replacement
The best way to know if you need a knee replacement is by talking to your doctor about your medical conditions and your symptoms. There are certain signs you can watch for so you can determine whether or not you need to speak to your doctor. Here are signs you may need a knee replacement:
- Severe pain that limits how far you can walk or how long you can stand
- Severe stiffness that limits range of motion and your ability to climb stairs or bend your knee
- You need a cane or a walker
- Knee pain wakes you up at night
- Frequent falls
Knee Replacement Options
If you and your doctor decide a knee replacement is best for you, there are several options for surgery. Your doctor will take into consideration your age, weight, and medical conditions when choosing a surgery.
With a standard knee surgery, your surgeon will evaluate your knee by examining your level of disability and performing x-rays. Based on these examinations, the surgeon will perform a manual surgery with traditional instruments. Damaged cartilage and tissue is removed based on the surgeon's visual inspection of your knee during surgery. A standard knee surgery is invasive but is most commonly performed for patients with severe pain or disability.
Robotic knee surgery allows a surgeon to perform a much more precise, less invasive surgery. Your doctor may recommend robotic surgery if your pain or disability is not severe. In a robotic knee surgery, your surgeon will conduct CT scans to image your knee and create a 3-D model. This model is used by the surgeon and the computerized robot to remove the damaged areas, resurface the knee, and replace the tissue.
If you're wondering whether a knee replacement is right for you, talk to professionals like those found at Noyes Knee Institute today to discuss your options.