Have you been managing your knee pain with conservative treatments but still experience pain? You are not alone–nearly 1 in 10 Americans seek surgery for knee pain. If you’ve been considering knee replacement, you may be wondering when is the right time.
What is Knee Replacement?
Knee replacement surgery involves removing all the damaged and affected parts of the knee joint and replacing them with artificial implants. As with any surgery, it should not be considered lightly and only recommended after other treatment options have been tested.
The recovery period for knee replacement can last anywhere from 6 months to over a year for your knee to fully heal. Most knee implants can last 15-20 years or longer with proper care.
How Will I Know If I Need Surgery?
If you’ve already sought professional treatment and tried conservative methods such as medication, lifestyle adjustments, steroid injections, and found the results lacking, it may be time to consider surgery.
We always recommend checking with your primary care doctor first before seeking surgical treatment.
The orthopedic surgeon will go over your medical history to see if surgery is an option for you. Aside from the physical tests, a thorough examination of your knee with X-rays and even MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) will be recommended to help determine if you are indeed a candidate for a knee replacement.
How Do I Prepare For Knee Replacement Surgery?
The decision to have total knee replacement surgery should be thoroughly discussed between you and your doctors. During your consultation, the doctors will discuss the pros and cons with you to assist you in making a decision.
You need to understand that your physical activities will be limited and there may be complications after the surgery. Though the pain will be significantly reduced and you may be able to perform some daily activities after 3 months, most surgeons will advise against high-impact activities like running, jogging, jumping, or other high-impact sports until after 6 months. Even then your doctor may still recommend adjustments or modifications for sports to avoid potentially damaging or wearing down the implant.
Possible complications after surgery such as infection, blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, implant problems, continued pain, and neurovascular injury are possible but the rate is low.
Deciding not to undergo knee replacement will still lead to further deterioration and damage because of the continued use of your damaged joint. However, if that is your decision, Dr. Dewan and his team will help you manage the pain and improve your quality of life with more conservative treatment options. For more information on when the right time for surgery is or to schedule a consultation, contact Ashvin K Dewan, MD today.