Knee pain is extremely common. It can also be debilitating. The pain can be so severe that climbing stairs or even walking is an agonizing chore. For some people, conservative treatments such as pain medications or steroid injections may help. In many others, surgery is required. In fact, more than 600,000 total knee replacement surgeries are performed in the United States each year.
If you have knee pain, finding a local knee joint doctor Staten Island or New York City is the first step in addressing your knee pain. A knee joint doctor may be a rheumatologist or, in more advanced disease, a total knee replacement surgeon, such as an orthopedic surgeon. This knee joint doctor will evaluate the cause of your knee pain and determine the best course of treatment, whether that involves surgery or not.
Knee pain may be acute or chronic. Acute knee pain may resolve on its own, or it may require surgery. Acute knee pain that continues for more than three to six months is considered chronic knee pain. Chronic knee pain is not likely to resolve on its own.
Some forms of acute knee pain and most forms of chronic knee pain ultimately require at least one surgical procedure — many require total knee replacement surgery.
The main indication for total knee replacement is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative inflammation of the joint surfaces that occurs when the protective ends of the bones and joints break down. Most cases of osteoarthritis are progressive, which means they get worse with time. Drugs and joint injections may delay surgery, but most people with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis will eventually need the services of a total knee replacement surgeon.
New York City, Staten Island, and Jersey City, incidentally, are home to many world-class knee joint doctors. These doctors specialize in the medical and surgical treatment of osteoarthritis.
Posttraumatic arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis that is caused by an injury to the knee joint, either one major trauma (like a car accident) or several minor traumas (like several years playing contact sports). These injuries deform the surfaces of the knee joint and eventually lead to arthritis.
Posttraumatic arthritis tends to develop faster than typical osteoarthritis because the damaged joint deteriorates faster. People with a history of knee injury should be under the care of a knee joint doctor, such as a rheumatologist or orthopedic surgeon. When the time comes, posttraumatic arthritis may be treated with total knee replacement surgery.
Total knee replacement surgery is considered a last resort for people with rheumatoid arthritis. This is because many medical knee joint doctors will first use various biologic agents to treat the disease.
Over time, however, rheumatoid arthritis can destroy joints to the point that they become non-functional, even with medical treatment. When this is the case, rheumatoid arthritis can and should be treated by a total knee replacement surgeon.
If you have longstanding osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or posttraumatic arthritis, you could be a candidate for total knee replacement surgery. The symptoms that indicate the need for total knee replacement surgery include:
- Severe knee pain that does not respond to pain medicines, especially pain that occurs at night
- Pain interferes with daily activities
- Pain interferes with mobility
Radiographic findings (X-ray, MRI) that indicate the need for total knee replacement surgery include:
- Narrowed space between the upper and lower leg bones
- Bone spurs and cysts in the knee joint
- Bone sclerosis (hardening of the joint surfaces)
- Squaring of the condyles (a certain change in shape of the leg bone near the knee)
If you have these signs and symptoms, do not have an active infection, and are healthy enough for surgery, a total knee replacement surgeon in New York City and surrounding areas can help.
Total Knee Replacement, also called total knee arthroplasty, is a complete replacement of the natural knee structures with an artificial knee joint. Working with an anesthesiologist, your total knee replacement surgeon in New York City will administer general, spinal or epidural anesthesia prior to repairing your damaged knee. With general anesthesia, you are asleep during the procedure, but with spinal or epidural anesthesia, you are awake and feel no pain. You will receive antibiotics at the time of surgery to prevent infection. Your total knee replacement surgeon will make an incision over your knee joint and remove your natural knee joint.
The site is prepared, and careful measurements and adjustments are made to ensure the knee is in perfect functional alignment with the upper and lower leg bones. The total knee replacement surgeon inserts an artificial knee implant in the prepared joint space. The surgeon will make various measurements and perform functional tests to ensure the implant is placed properly. Soft tissue balancing is required to make sure the ligaments and tendons move smoothly and properly over the new implant.
You will need to remain in the hospital for two or more days after total knee replacement surgery. However, your surgeon will urge you to become active as soon as possible (within limits) to promote healing and prevent complications. Most patients will be able to bear weight on the leg within one to two days after surgery.
If you are looking for a knee joint doctor or total knee replacement surgeon in NYC, Staten Island or Jersey city, contact Regional Orthopedic today. The experienced doctors and surgeons will review your history and provide a thorough and comprehensive evaluation. When medical treatments are no longer helpful, contact the experts at Regional Orthopedic, we can provide total knee replacement surgery that can potentially relieve your knee pain and improve leg function and mobility.