Is Knee Replacement Surgery at the Georgia Orthopedic Institute For You?
How to Determine If Surgery Is Your Best Option
The decision to have knee replacement surgery is best made between you, your family, your primary care doctor and your orthopedic surgeon.
Here's how the process typically works. Your primary care doctor will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon for an evaluation of your knee problem. Your evaluation will likely include a review of your medical history, a physical exam of your knee and X-rays.
Recommendations for knee replacement surgery are based on your overall health, the extent of your pain and disability and your age.
Is It Right for You?
Knee replacement surgery may benefit you if:
- Knee pain and/or stiffness limits your daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs or getting out of bed or a chair.
- You experience minimal or no pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or if you are experiencing side effects from these medications.
- Other treatments such as injections into the joint, physical therapy or assistive devices such as a walker, don't relieve the pain in your knee.
How the Knee Works
In order to understand why you're having knee pain, it's important to understand how the knee works.
The knee joint is made up of the lower end of the thigh bone (femur), which moves or rotates on the upper end of the shin bone (tibia), and the knee cap (patella), which slides in a groove on the end of the femur. The thigh muscle provides strength to the knee joint. There are strong ligaments that attach the tibia to the femur to provide stability.
The ends of the bones that make up the knee are covered with cartilage. The cartilage cushions the bones and allows them to move smoothly as the knee joint bends and straightens. There is a membrane that lines the joint, which contains fluid that lubricates and eliminates friction in the healthy knee.
A Damaged Knee
When one or more parts of the knee become damaged, the mobility of the joint becomes impaired.
Over time, cartilage can wear away and the knee will become stiff. As the cartilage continues to wear, the bones of the joint rub together and pain and stiffness begin to increase.
Causes of joint damage include osteoarthritis (degenerative) arthritis, inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, or injury from a bad fall or blow to the knee.