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Knee pain, when it is severe, can interfere with everyday activities and keep you from doing the things that you enjoy. If you have tried conservative therapies without success, it may be time to consider surgical options. At GPOA we have a team of orthopaedic doctors and surgeons who specialize in knee surgery and replacement.
Surgery is one option in the treatment of structural disorders that affect the knees. It may be an option for severe knee pain that has not responded to other pain management strategies. Although many people try to postpone or avoid surgical intervention, it is often the best option for the treatment of common knee conditions like arthritis and sports injuries. Not all conditions require surgery, or yours may not have progressed to the point of needing it.
There are many types of surgical procedures that can be performed on the knees and the surrounding tissue. They range from minimally-invasive arthroscopic procedures used to repair torn cartilage or ligaments to total knee replacements.
Your knee relies on cartilage to facilitate smooth, fluid, and pain-free movement. Unfortunately, cartilage can be damaged in a number of ways. Two of the most common causes are trauma to the joint and arthritis. An injury or trauma can cause a tear and arthritis leads to degeneration and wear of the tissue.
Once it is damaged, cartilage does not heal well. In cases where the joint is able to grow new cartilage, it is often rough or bumpy. That makes it less able to facilitate smooth movement at the joint, which is its main function. Luckily, there are surgical options that are designed to repair, regenerate, or restore the condition of the cartilage in your knee. These are most commonly used in patients who have limited or isolated damage, usually due to trauma.
In some cases, cartilage can be transplanted from one part of your body to another. This may be a good choice if you have damage from an injury or arthritis in a limited number of joints. It is also possible to stimulate bone marrow through a precision procedure. This, in turn, stimulates cartilage growth in the joint.
Cartilage can also be grown outside of the body and then implanted into your knee. This requires two separate procedures: one to harvest cartilage cells and another to re-implant them.
Arthroscopic surgery is performed through small incisions. Using these to access the knee, your surgeon inserts a miniature video camera and surgical tools. This can be useful in treating cartilage damage, repairing torn ligaments, and to assess the condition of your joint.
Since you will only need a few small incisions, you will not be left with a large scar. This technology also reduces risks thanks to its less invasive nature. Also, you may be able to choose to receive regional anesthesia during arthroscopic surgery, so you can remain awake during the whole process.
Although the list of conditions that can be treated and procedures that can be performed arthroscopically is continually growing, it cannot be used for all treatments. You should discuss whether arthroscopic surgery is an option for you when you meet with one of our specialists.
In general, people who can relate to these statements will benefit from a consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon:
Any time knee pain causes you to alter your behavior, you should take action. Advances in surgical techniques mean safer, less-invasive treatments with quicker recovery times. However, knee surgery isn’t always the best option for everyone. For example, if you have a current infection, your pain or mobility issues are caused by something other than knee degeneration, or you have a history of blood clots, then you may not be a good candidate for surgery.
If you are tired of living with knee pain and other treatments have not worked to ease it, we can help. Our orthopaedic specialists work to treat conditions affecting the knee, and we are happy to share how surgery can help reduce your pain and allow you to return to activities you enjoy. GPOA serves patients throughout the Pittsburgh area. Contact us to schedule your appointment.