Knee Replacement (KR) | All You Need to Know About Knee Replacement Surgery

What is a knee replacement?

One of the most widely performed surgeries nowadays is knee replacement surgery. Knee replacement surgeries are done for more than 700,000 people in the United States every year, and most of them experience a noticeable improvement in the durability of the joint and its capability of flexing and extending. Knee replacement, which is also called arthroplasty, is a well-known surgical procedure and is done all over the world nowadays. Knee replacement results in pain-relief and retaining the joint’s ability of smooth movement by replacing the most affected and weight-bearing part of the joint by an inert and safe material.

The first knee endoscopy was done by a physician from Denmark called Dr. Severin Nordentof in 1912, while the first recorded knee arthroscopy was done forty-three years later by a Japanese surgeon called Masaki Watanabe He removed a solitary giant cell tumor from a knee joint during the procedure. Two years later, Dr. Watanabe shared his knowledge and experience and published The Atlas of Arthroscopy which is still considered the basis of modern minimally invasive knee arthroscopy.

Many studies were published to sum up the causes that may lead to knee replacement. However, we are going to cover the most frequent roots. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee replacement. It is a chronic condition in which bones or cartilages of the joint are inflamed for some reason.  Many studies say that symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (confirmed by a radiologist) especially in its late-stage affects nearly 3.8% of the population all over the world. This inflammation may potentially cause serious impairments. Pain and stiffness generally progress and get worse, so in the early stages, alternative non-invasive methods of treatment are available in most cases and can resolve osteoarthritis in most cases.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include limited motion, joint pain with activity, redness, and swelling of the knee. Making effort such as carrying heavy weights, climbing stairs, bending, or squatting becomes much harder and exacerbate the pain. The damaged tissues in tendons, ligaments, and bone mostly give the patient no choice except a total knee replacement. Severe deformity from trauma or late-stage arthritis may lead to knee replacement surgery. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis may damage the articular parts of the knee joint which will eventually lead to a knee replacement surgery to restore the joint smoothness. Osteoporosis isn’t considered by many orthopedics as a potential cause so it does not typically cause deformity or inflammation and is not a reason to perform knee replacement. Other minor causes are cartilage defect and ligamental tear which are less frequently reported than the previously mentioned causes.

Now, let’s discuss knee replacement alternatives.