When is the right time for knee replacement surgery?
Knee replacement surgeries (both partial and total knee) are becoming more popular. One of the most common elective surgical procedures is joint replacement. AHRQ researchers predict that by 2030, about 11 million Americans will have either a hip or knee replacement surgery. The study attributed the increase in joint replacement surgeries to several factors:
- the aging of the baby boomer population
- high rates of diagnosis and treatment of arthritis
- demands for improved mobility and high quality of life
- younger individuals undergoing these procedures
- improvements in life expectancy
Despite the growing popularity of the procedure, you may still find yourself questioning if it's the right time for a knee replacement. You may be eager to have the surgery because you are in extreme pain and want to get back to living your best life or you may be thinking it's too early for a knee replacement and you want to put it off for as long as possible.
If you have endured knee pain for a while, even after your doctor recommended knee replacement surgery, you have probably hoped that something else might work or that the pain would eventually subside and go away on its own. You have likely tried a variety of relief options such as oral medications, cortisone injections, use of walking aids, and physical therapy. But, if you're reading this now, you likely haven't experienced the success you originally hoped for with alternative methods.
A knee replacement is a major surgery. Surgery may be needed if you are in pain that cannot be relieved with conservative treatments and if the pain is interfering with daily living activities. Advancements in technology, such as robotic-assisted surgery, have reduced the risks and improved the accuracy of joint replacement surgeries. Along with reduced surgical complications, this type of robotic technology allows for less pain, less blood loss, faster recovery and smaller, less noticeable scarring.
A common statement from knee replacement post-op patients is that they "wished they would have had the procedure earlier."
Doctors will often tell patients that they will know when the time is right for their knee replacement. Some hints that it may be time are:
- Your knee pain limits daily living activities or activities that you enjoy.
- Your knee pain keeps you up at night.
- You have tried more conservative treatments over a reasonable period of time and still have persistent knee pain.
Talk to your physician if the above describes your situation and you feel you are ready to return to activities you enjoy through knee replacement surgery.
Modern technology makes robotic surgery safer than ever.