Knee Arthroplasty Benefits and Complications

Knee ArthroplastyKnee arthroplasty was being practiced long before it was understood. In the last 30 years, improvements in knee surgery have been made by the best orthopedic surgeons greatly improving the procedure.

Knee arthroplasty is typically used in patients with arthritis however it is sometimes used in patients displaying deformity or injury. It is only used in people whose conditions have greatly reduced their quality of life. Knee replacement therefore provides significant benefits because it can improve the activity level of patients and reduce their daily and sometimes severe pain.

Bear in mind, however, that unlike arthroscopic meniscus tear surgery, the recovery time for knee arthoplasty is substantial. Monitoring following knee arthroplasty can occur for up to 10 years following surgery.

Side effects potentially arising from knee arthroplasty are many and can include scar tissue build up, loosening of the prosthetic, fractures of the femur, thromboembolism, and infection. Extremely serious side effects rarely can occur and include arterial thrombosis (which often results in amputation). Reoperation can also be necessary as well due to patellofemoral complications.

There are some instances where knee replacement surgery cannot be performed whether because they make the surgery impossible because of further complications, such as knee sepsis or vascular disease. Knee surgery may also not be performed until existing conditions are treated or corrected. Conditions that would apply would be skin conditions such as psoriasis at the surgical site, obesity, and a history of osteomyelitis.

Knee replacement has now been more frequently used in patients with severe arthritis than kneecap removal as technological and material advances have made knee surgery more safe and practical. With a shelf life on average of over 15 years, replacement knees have come a long way in the medical world.

As with any medical procedure, your physician will determine if the benefits outweigh the risks for you to have a knee replacement. The severity of your condition, age, overall health, and reduction in quality of life will all be important factors in making this decision. All surgical procedures carry risk, and knee arthroplasty is no exception. Thankfully, modern advances combined with well trained surgeons are generating phenomenal surgery success rates, leading to quality of life improvement in many individuals.