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Knee Arthritis Surgery

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative, disabling “wear and tear”, type of arthritis which sees articular cartilage thinning and being replaced by bony spurs. Over time, the arthritic knee joint space diminishes and load bearing activity causes severe pain. There is no cure for arthritis and when conservative treatment no longer helps with pain management, total joint replacement surgery becomes necessary.

Symptoms commonly associated with knee osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain that increases when you are active, but gets a little better with rest
  • Pain that interferes with daily activities
  • Swelling and feeling of warmth in the joint
  • Worse pain in colder weather
  • Stiffness in the knee, especially in the morning or when sitting for a while
  • Long-lasting knee inflammation and swelling that doesn’t get better with rest or medications
  • In advanced cases, moderate or severe knee pain while resting, day or night
  • A bowing in or out of your leg
  • Knock knees
  • Knee stiffness

How common is knee surgery?

According to the Australia’s National Joint Registry, there has been an 88 per cent increase in knee replacement surgeries between 2003 and 2014 – with more than 54,000 Australians undertaking the procedure in 2014.

What does surgery involve?

  • In general, knee replacement surgery consists of replacing the diseased or damaged joint surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components shaped to allow continued motion of the knee.
  • Knee replacements are performed for severe arthritic knees and can be unilateral (one knee) or bilateral (two knees).          
  • The operation typically involves substantial postoperative pain, and includes vigorous physical rehabilitation.
  • The recovery period may be 6 weeks or longer and may involve the use of mobility aids (e.g. walking frames, canes, crutches) to enable the patient’s return to preoperative mobility. Hospital stay is generally about a week. Most patients can safely drive at 6 weeks and gradually increase walking distances in 6 weeks.

 What are the specific types of surgical replacement procedures Dr Herald offers?

Unicompartmental Replacement of The Knee

  • For osteoarthritis sufferers where the problem is limited to only one side of the knee, a uni compartmental knee replacement is an alternative surgical option to total knee replacement surgery.
  • Your orthopaedic surgeon should be consulted to discuss the extent of your arthritis to determine if a uni compartmental knee replacement is right for you.

Total Knee Replacement

  • Advanced arthritis of the knee is very painful. When non surgical treatments like medications and gentle exercise no longer manage pain, the total knee replacement surgery is an effective way to relieve pain, correct deformity and improve function of the knee.
  • Total knee replacement surgery is also called knee arthroplasty.
  • Knee arthroplasty involves implanting new femoral, tibial, tibial insert and patella components into the knee joint. The implants may be cemented or press fit into position.
  • The goal of surgery is to balance the knee so that future wear and tear of the new joint occurs as evenly over the new implant surface as possible. Physiotherapy is a very important part of the post op recovery process of total knee replacement surgery.

Biomet PSI Total Knee Replacement

  • Whilst your choice of a long lasting total knee replacement prosthesis is important, equally it is important to get the positioning and balance right when putting it in.
  • A combination of using the Biomet Vanguard total knee replacement prosthesis and the Signature personalized (PSI) technology, means you get a powerful combination of durability and fit for the maximum possible life of your joint replacement. A joint tailor-made for your body.

What other conditions require a knee replacement?

Knee replacement is also used for other kinds of knee disease such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • A torn meniscus
  • Cartilage defects
  • Ligament tears