4 December, 2018
A common medical issue that has been discussed at length among the senior citizens in the past decade or so is knee replacement surgery. The reasons why a surgeon would suggest a knee replacement surgery are many. It depends on the person’s knee bone condition due to either regular wear and tear, or arthritis-related issues. Also, surgery usually is the last course of the medical intervention, after physiotherapy or any other treatment options have been tried and tested.
While the surgical procedure itself has advanced a lot with time, the myths surrounding it have only increased with time. Usually, the senior people who have been advised this procedure, are filled with trepidation, mainly because they might have heard stories about it from someone. But as such, with the advancements in technology, this is now a hassle-free and straightforward procedure, which requires some proper recuperation time and postoperative therapies, that’s all. However, as the adage goes, prevention is better than cure. So, it is good to know that there are ways to take care of your knees so that you can try and avoid the surgery to an extent.
A good number of Indians are obese, and this is one of the leading factors leading to knee replacement surgery. The excess weight leads to more stress on the joints, as well as increased arthritis knee pain. If one is conscious about weight management through healthy diets and regular exercises, the joints won’t feel more stress and will also remain flexible enough to avoid surgery. Avoiding being obese, will also have many other health benefits like preventing or controlling blood pressure and blood sugar as well.
As we age, we need to understand what kind of activities are ok for us to do and what is not. Exercises should be tailored to ensure that the flexibility of the joints is maintained and no such action should be undertaken that can put more pressure on them. Also, regular physical muscle strengthening exercises should be done to keep them healthy and pain-free.
Options for knee replacement
The options available for knee replacement are knee injections, especially the latest ones which come with regenerative components. These come with stem cell regeneration and are extremely popular in the US, are now also available in India. This treatment is much less invasive than surgery, and in case you are having knee issues, you may discuss this option as well with your doctor. Treatment time, complications, and recovery time, etc., are shorter than a surgery; however, the doctor is the best judge of the same. Every patient’s condition is different, and they may know what is best in a particular situation.
Your doctor may also suggest knee braces at times, and this can help shift the weight from the knee and thus keep it pain-free. It can also help you move around more freely and comfortably, this increasing your mobility. There are multiple options and choices in this, and also it may not work for a few people. Hence, once again, the doctor may decide on a case to case basis.
Options and advancements in knee replacement surgery
The doctor assesses your complete records and extent of knee damage, and then takes a call on whether you need knee replacement surgery. Medical technology has advanced to such to a degree, that you now have options of total knee replacement surgery or minimally invasive partial knee replacement surgeries available.
A total knee replacement may involve a 3 to a 7-day hospital stay and a 1- 3 month recovery period, with postoperative therapies and care. Most patients experience complete success in the case of a total knee replacement surgery and may be much more mobile and flexible than before the surgery. People in the slightly lesser age group and certain types of arthritis are the ones who are usually suggested for the minimally invasive partial knee replacement surgery. There are reasons why a patient is advised one or the other treatment, and it is good to know these and discuss it out with the doctor.
Advanced techniques such as a computer or robotic navigation, patient-specific instrumentation, customized or press print implants for improved mobility, neuromuscular electrical stimulation for better results and innovative pain management are changing the knee replacement surgery landscape. As in the case of any other procedure, it is best to know beforehand what your issue is, and what treatment options are available and can be explored to ensure a better quality of life in the years to come.
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