Latest updates on hip replacement surgery

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Initially carried out in the 1960s, knee replacement surgery has significantly advanced its effectiveness as improved surgical instruments have been designed, newer techniques have been developed, and better understanding of the knee joint's function has been recognized, medical experts say. Also referred to as total knee replacement, knee replacement surgery has been reportedly considered in recent years as one of the most successful surgical procedures in all of medicine. It also accounts for more than 600,000 procedures carried out in the United States every year, according to government statistics reports.

Knee replacement surgery entails the removal of the shinbone, femur, and knee cap in a damaged knee joint, as was described by medical journals. The damaged joint is then replaced with artificial components commonly referred to as prosthesis or knee replacement implants. Most patients who are asked to undergo this procedure have sustained severe knee joint damage from injury or trauma, osteoarthritis, or other related bone or joint conditions.

Severe osteoarthritis of the knees has been reportedly recognized as the most common reason for which patients in the US undergo knee replacement, medical experts say. Also known as  degenerative arthritis, it is a progressive joint disease which typically occurs as a result of the gradual breakdown of the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones. It is characterized by pain and stiffness in the affected joints, limiting an individual, mostly older adults, from performing normal daily tasks.  While the age-related joint disorder frequently affects the knees, osteoarthritis may also develop in the hips, neck, hands, or lower back. Other types of arthritis that have been found as common causes of knee pain include rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis, while sources of joint pain in younger patients include ankylosing spondylitis and other similar musculoskeletal conditions.

There are patients who may wish to delay the possibility of a knee replacement surgery, according to health experts. Depending on the severity of their condition, doctors initially recommend non-surgical treatment methods that may include lifestyle changes, physical therapy, or pain medications. On the other hand,  patients whose symptoms may have failed to respond to non-invasive techniques are ultimately then recommended to undergo knee replacement surgery for pain relief, better joint function, and improved quality of life.

Much like other surgical procedures or treatments, knee replacement surgery may also be accompanied by certain risks. These may include complications such as infections, blood clots, or fracture in the bone around the artificial joint. Despite this, orthopedic experts highlight that the risks are minimal and that complications only occur in about two percent of total knee replacement cases.

The author is a health writer and researcher from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


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