If someone has severe arthritis and conservative measures no longer help, knee replacement surgery is often the best option for permanent pain relief and restored mobility. Major advances over the past decade have revolutionized the way we perform the surgery, and nobody should live with unrelenting pain.
More than 700,000 knee replacements are performed in the United States each year. After the procedure and recovery, most patients say you cannot put a price on what they gained.
Advances in implant design mean a knee replacement could last 25 to 30 years. Nowadays, most major joint replacement centers use regional anesthesia, eliminating the need for general anesthesia. The patient is still asleep during the surgery.
Minimally invasive knee replacement with much smaller incisions generally means less pain and a faster recovery. The procedure entails a three- to four-inch incision instead of the standard 10- to 12-inch incision.
Some patients may qualify for a less extensive surgery called a “unilateral” or partial joint replacement. A smaller incision, less pain after surgery and a quicker recovery are potential advantages of a partial joint replacement. Many patients say their knee feels perfectly natural after the procedure.
For the best outcome, people are advised to carefully choose their orthopedic surgeon. Indeed, when considering any type of surgery, it is extremely important that people do their homework. Individuals should choose a surgeon with extensive experience in the procedure they are having, with whom they feel comfortable, and who takes the time to answer all of their questions. It is also advisable to select a major hospital in which a high number of joint replacement surgeries are performed.
If conservative measures fail to provide arthritis relief, joint replacement can eliminate pain and restore quality of life. For those able to get back to activities they once loved, it can change their lives dramatically.
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