It’s a procedure we may all hope to avoid. However, if you are experiencing the type of knee pain that inhibits your ability to perform basic tasks, such as walking or getting out of a car, knee surgery is a consideration. If you suffered a profound injury to your knee, it’s a necessity.
Here are some general guidelines to determine if you should consider knee surgery:
- The knee pain keeps you awake or wakes you up at night.
- The knee pain limits everyday activities, such as getting up from a chair or climbing stairs.
- The knee pain keeps you from enjoying activities that give you pleasure, such as walking for exercise, traveling, or shopping.
- You have tried other treatments, such as medication and physical therapy, for a reasonable period of time but still have persistent knee pain.
When a doctor examines you as a potential candidate for knee surgery, he or she will review the following factors:
- General Health: A doctor note if you have hypertension, heart disease, or lung disease, as these conditions can add to the risk of surgery. If you are on immunosuppression drugs, you may be at higher risk of infection from surgery.
- Weight: Often, patients may be asked to lose weight prior to surgery to put less pressure on the recovering knee.
- Age: Older and younger patients should proceed with caution before considering a surgical option. For older patients, the complications of knee surgery may cause more of an issue than the knee problem itself. Patients who have surgery at a young age may require multiple surgeries over the course of their lives.
- Bone Density: If you have severe osteoporosis or a history of stress fractures, the doctor will want to treat this before going into surgery.
- Bone and Joint Deformity and Stiffness: If you suffer from stiff or deformed bones and joints, knee surgery may be more complex. These conditions can also make rehabilitation more difficult.
Talk to your doctor about the many different available procedures—including joint repair, resurfacing, arthroscopy, partial and total joint replacement. Discuss the pros and cons, and be sure to ask about recovery time.
For more information about your options, contact the Orthopedic and Spine Institute at St. Lucie Medical Center. You can also call Consult-A-Nurse® at 1-800-449-8345 for answers to medical questions and for physician referrals.