Knee replacement Surgery — Causes and Options

The first knee replacement surgery was performed in 1968. In the United States, more than 6,00,000 operations of knee replacement surgery are performed every year. A KRS is usually needed if there is severe damage to your knee by some injury or mostly arthritis. With such damage it becomes hard for the patient to move the limb, perform daily activities like walking or even lying down.

The causes of most knee pains are the following three common types of arthritis:

Rheumatoid Arthritis: The most common type of inflammatory arthritis where cartilage is damaged due to inflammation of the synovial membrane that surrounds the joint.

Osteoarthritis: A cartilage wear and tear caused mostly due to ageing (mostly occurs in patients 50 years or older), that makes knee bones rub against each other causing pain and rigidity in the knee.

Post-traumatic Arthritis: The main cause of such arthritis is serious knee injury that causes fractures in knee bone or knee ligament rupture which damaged the articular cartilage.

Doctors first go for less invasive treatments like medication, physiotherapy, weight loss. When such non surgical treatments fail, doctors finally opt for knee replacement surgery, which can be of two types depending on the level of damage to knee bones and cartilage. Partial knee replacement surgery is mostly opted for younger patients or those with less damage to the knee and total knee replacement surgery is performed on those with more damage.

In partial knee replacement surgery, only the damaged part of the knee is replaced, either medial or lateral. A partial KRS is less invasive and can require another surgery later, mostly a total KRS and is usually possible only for 10–30% patients. In total knee replacement surgery the damaged knee joint is completely replaced with plastic and metal parts. This is a more common and durable procedure.

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