Knee pain is common, and it is detrimental to one’s life. When medications are no longer helping the situation, knee replacement surgery may be the viable option.
Total Knee Replacement
Total Knee Replacement (TKR) has been in practice since the late 1960s. With advancement in technology, TKR has made a massive leap forward to today’s more precise surgeries- making it the least risky and most successful surgery in orthopedics.
A patient undergoing TKR surgery receives a manufactured knee to replace the original knee.
Throughout the surgery, four steps occur: removal of cartilage that show signs of damage, insertion of the synthetic knee components, addition of a button device opposite from the previous component, and placement of a spacer between the two components, which creates the natural movement of the knee.
The vast majority of patients, 95 percent, claimed satisfying results from their TKR.
Partial Knee Replacement
Less popular than TKR, Partial Knee Replacement, or PKR, is another option in response to severe knee pain. Usually found in those younger than 65 years of age, patients experience only a portion of the knee that is problematic.
Synthetic components are still used. However, since the additional components are used far less than the replacement involved during TKR, PKR has a more agreeable recovery period, as well as less risk during surgery. The con to PKR surgery is the possibility that additional knee surgeries will be required in the future.
Preparation For and Types of Surgery
Tailored to each patient’s specific needs, your doctor will advise you on the best knee replacement option. He or she will also examine the frame of your knee, and in doing so, will make the executive decision regarding how to approach the area during surgery, and which tools to utilize.
If undergoing the traditional surgery, a cut is made vertically along the top of the knee. In the attempt to locate the problematic area, additional incisions will be made on the quadriceps tendon, in order to flip over the kneecap. After the process, recovery time of about three months usually follows.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
If a speedy recovery and less blood loss is desired, then a minimally invasive surgery (MIS) would be recommended. MIS involves a reduction in incision length, and rather than the kneecap being overturned, it is simply moved to one side during the operation. A quicker recovery occurs regarding MIS as compared to the traditional surgery.
Quadriceps-sparing approach is one type of MIS. In this operation, no cuts are made to the quadriceps muscle. A variation of the quadriceps-sparing approach is known as midvastus. During this procedure, the quadriceps tendon is cut, but it is sliced along its natural line.
An alternative form of MIS, though not commonly practiced, is the lateral approach. It is used almost exclusively in the patient population with outward-bending knees.
A Successful Knee Surgery
Technology advancement can aid surgeons by providing a 3-D representation of a patient’s knee, ensuring the correct alignment of the synthetic components. With today’s technology, the margin of error has drastically decreased. Do not hesitate, talk to your doctor, and experience life without the constant stress of your knee discomfort.