Many knee replacement patients experience positive outcomes. Yet, many do not get the promised pain relief from a knee replacement. There are non-surgical options. If you suffer from chronic knee pain, there’s a good chance the idea of a knee replacement has crossed your mind. And why not? Many people select this option with the hope that it will enable them to return to their daily activities without pain. The decision requires a thorough and careful analysis of the pros and cons, as well as guidance from a trusted healthcare provider.
KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY – PROS AND CONS
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States,. This makes them one of the most frequently performed in-patient procedures. Rates of the surgery doubled from 1999 to 2008. It is predicted that this trend will continue. The increase in obesity and aging population can’t alone account for this. Some researchers attribute this increase to improvements in the implants themselves, as well as to the fact that the average patient age for a knee replacement has lowered. The most common reason for knee replacement is knee arthritis.
Regardless of this trend, a knee replacement is not the answer for everyone. Knee replacement is major surgery and should not be done unless you’ve exhausted all other options to relieve your pain and mitigate your symptoms. In fact, a 2014 study published in Arthritis and Rheumatology, found that one-third of the patients in the study who underwent knee replacement were not appropriate candidates. Their symptoms were not severe enough to warrant surgery. Furthermore, a systematic review of studies published last year in BMJ Open found that up to one-third of knee replacement patients continue to experience chronic pain after surgery.
IS A KNEE REPLACEMENT RIGHT FOR ME?
There are options available, especially if the diagnosis is knee arthritis. Making the decision on whether to have a knee replacement can be stressful. Don’t let the idea of living pain free put blinders on a careful evaluation of YOUR current situation and options that may be better for you overall.
Here are a few things to consider when making the decision:
- Have you tried all other options? Non-surgical treatment options include OTC pain relievers, synvisc injections, acupuncture, as well as weight loss.
- Knee replacement doesn’t get to the root cause. While it may relieve some of the symptoms, it’s important to understand that surgery isn’t a cure for arthritis. Post surgery, you will still need to manage your knee arthritis through diet and exercise.
- New knees don’t last forever. Depending on your age, you may need revision surgery. Revisions tend to be more complicated than the initial implant.
Since 1981, First Health Associates has been providing exceptional health care to residents of Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Elk Grove and Des Plaines. First Health is an integrative medicine practice that offers: Medical Care; Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine; and Chiropractic Care.
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