What are some surgical alternatives to total knee replacement surgery?

Discovery Health

There are surgical options available that do not include total knee replacement surgery. These treatments may help to assuage pain and to improve mobility in an impaired knee without the need for a complete replacement of the joint with a mechanical knee. With arthroscopic surgery, the doctor can remove torn cartilage and other substances. During an osteotomy, a surgeon realigns the knee by sculpting either bone from the femur or tibia.

If you have a condition in which only one side of your knee is damaged by arthritis, a unicompartmental knee anthroplasty may be considered. This is a procedure that shows promise as a therapy for limited arthritic damage. During this procedure only the damaged sections are removed, reshaped and restored with metal and polyethylene substitutes. Approximately 6 percent of patients with arthritic knees are suitable candidates for this surgery. In the event that the other sides of the knee are affected by arthritis, a person can still elect to undergo total knee replacement surgery.

Another option to total knee replacement surgery is a procedure that produces minimal collateral tissue damage. Known as minimally invasive knee replacement, this procedure uses the same kind of implant but is a fairly new technique whereby the surgeon operates with a smaller incision. Consequently, scarring is minimized and there is reduced damage to the surround tissues. This also means less time spent in the hospital. But the procedure is a challenging one, requiring a variety of tools and instruments to work on the joint. Dependent upon the extent of damage to the knee and other health factors including obesity, this may not be the best option for some people.

If a patient also happens to have problems with his or hips requiring hip replacement surgery, it is advisable to undergo that surgery before surgical treatment of a knee. This is because in order to actively rehabilitate your knee following surgery, you will need to have optimal movement in your hip.

Keep in mind that each person's knee is slightly different, as is the damage to a knee. An orthopedic surgeon can advise you of the best treatments for your personal health.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.