Replacement Parts for Your Knees

Although it’s commonly referred to as such, it may be misleading to call this type of surgery knee replacement; a more accurate term might be knee rebuilding.

knee replacement evaluationOur medical team can evaluate your knee, using x-rays and other imaging technology, so we can assess the damage. Sometimes the surgeon needs only to remove damaged tissue from the knee, a procedure called debridement. In other cases, a total knee replacement is recommended.

Knee replacement surgery is recommended when pain gets to the point where it limits your daily activities; when it interferes with your ability to sleep; when other treatments have failed; or in the case of a deformity.

The most common reason for chronic knee pain is osteoarthritis. In patients with this condition, the cartilage and fibrous tissue (called meniscus) are gradually worn away. Since these tissues prevent bone-on-bone contact, the lack of cushioning results in pain.

There is no known cure for osteoarthritis, and it tends to become progressively worse as the patient gets older.

Knee Replacement Process

The first step towards relieving the pain is to meet with Dr. Jesse Shaw and discuss your condition. He will ask for some information: When did the pain start? Do you constantly feel pain, or does it come and go? Have you injured the knee at some point in the past?
Dr. Shaw will also need your medical history. He will conduct a physical exam, and order imaging tests that reveal the type and extent of damage to bone, cartilage and ligaments. These tests may illustrate what is causing the pain. Together, you and your doctor can decide on a treatment plan.
Total knee replacement surgery does not come with a lifetime guaranty. Your knee will not enable you to run a marathon or indulge in mogul-jumping on the ski hill. But you will probably be able to swim, play golf or tennis, drive a car, ride a bicycle, or dance without pain.
While osteoarthritis tends to worsen with age, it’s interesting to note that half of patients undergoing knee surgery are under 65; most of them are still working. Knee injury is an equal-opportunity condition.

For more information, see the web site of the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS):
To watch a video describing one patient’s experience with knee replacement, see: Beyond Surgery Day: The Full Impact of Knee Replacement