What is Knee Surgery?
We consider surgical correction in cases where therapeutic and holistic treatments are not sufficient. Surgery may also be necessary in the event of a life-threatening condition. We practice leading-edge surgical techniques designed to relieve chronic pain and restore functionality in the knee joint.
Knee arthroscopy is an exploratory diagnostic technique using an instrument that looks like a socket wrench called an "arthroscope." A surgeon inserts one end of the arthroscope, which contains a tiny camera, into the knee joint. The arthroscope also contains microtools that can move displaced cartilage or tissue, as well as remove cysts, bone fragments, and foreign objects.
Reconstructive surgery can be performed on multiple parts of the knee. For example, when a ligament sustains critical damage, reconstruction may be the only way to fully restore its function. Likewise, tendons and cartilage may be surgically reconstructed using grafts – a process that takes tissues from other areas of the body and reattaches them to replace the missing or damaged tissues.
Minimally invasive, partial, or total knee replacement is necessary when methods of reconstruction are impossible. Artificial knee components are typically made of metal and plastic; in cases where the recipient is allergic, other materials, such as ceramic, may be substituted. In any case, the damaged part(s) of the knee is resurfaced or replaced. A minimally invasive knee replacement surgery can take as little as an hour.
Patient-specific instruments (PSI) knee replacement is a newer technique that uses three-dimensional modeling [generated using computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)] and arthroplasty or joint replacement therapy. The benefits of the PSI procedure include shorter recovery time and greater alignment with the knee's natural components.
Why Should I Consider Knee Surgery?
Generally, the first time a doctor sees a patient about a knee issue, it's due to pain that won't go away. Swelling, redness, and popping/grinding in the joint are also symptoms that may indicate a serious medical problem. Likewise, a loss of mobility, even if unaccompanied by pain, may require surgical restoration. Interventional and preventative knee surgeries can improve quality-of-life in ways that would be impossible without modern medicine.
Will Surgery Relieve My Pain?
Pain can be a symptom of inflammation, bone misalignment, tissue damage, and any number of injuries or disorders. The pain associated with these problems tends to subside as soon as the cause is corrected. In many cases, surgery can eliminate pain entirely. Even when residual aches linger, they often diminish or disappear over time following the procedure. The outcomes vary on a case-by-case basis; only a medical examination can predict if surgery can decrease your pain.
Will Surgery Help My Injury?
A knee is injured when it sustains damage to the bones, ligaments, tendons, tissues, cartilage, or bursae (fluid-filled sacs that surround the joint) that compose the whole knee. Knee injuries are relatively common, and seemingly minor injuries can become severe enough to explore surgery as a treatment option.
Fractures can happen easier than most people think. The bones in the knee, such as the patella or "kneecap", can break in the impact of a collision or fall; they can also fracture as a result of long-term stress and/or age-related weakening of the bone. Simple fractures can be healed when the bone is immobilized in a position where it can heal. The knee, however, is a complicated mechanism that's made to move. In cases where a cast won't help, surgically-implanted immobilizing pins or even a partial replacement may be necessary for proper healing.
Ligament injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament or ACL injuries, impact athletes with the greatest regularity. They can also happen as a result of everyday activity. The ACL is one of the four ligaments that connect the shin to the thigh. Sudden movements and changes in direction can cause these ligaments to snap. Such an injury is excruciating; on a positive note, the telltale pain makes it an easy condition to diagnose.
Torn cartilage, usually the meniscus, can cause further damage if it is not diagnosed and treated promptly. Like your car's bumper, the cartilage in the knee acts as a shock absorber, preventing impact damage to the shin and thigh bones. Most people tear this cartilage when they perform a sudden twisting motion, especially if they're putting weight on the knee at the time.
Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae – those fluid-filled sacs that provide mobility by allowing the other parts of the knee to move with less constriction. Inflamed bursae tend to cause pain and swelling as well as the loss of fluid motion.
Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of the tendons, which attach muscles and bones. Patellar tendinitis is most common during activities that involve a lot of jumping or repetitive bending of the knee. Cyclists and runners are apt to injure their patellar tendon because it connects the shinbone to the quadriceps (the main thigh muscles).
Will Surgery Help My Degenerative Condition?
Your knee is one of the largest, most active joints in your body. Over decades of constant use, ligaments and tendons start to weaken. Contact motion wears down the surface of bones and erodes cartilage. Degenerative conditions speed up such processes of aging. Reinforcing or replacing the damage can restore function and delay further deterioration.
Arthritis is one of if not the most common degenerative conditions. While it's understood to be a typical sign of aging, a case of arthritis can have dozens of causes. Among these are excessive weight, substance abuse, vitamin deficiencies, overuse or underuse of joints, and genetic predisposition (it might run in your family). The medical community has identified over 150 types of arthritis; several of these can impact the functionality of the knee.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It damages bones by degenerating the cartilage around the joint. As the cartilage disappears, bones can make contact with each other, resulting in pain and increasing wear-and-tear on the bones themselves. This condition affecting the knee can be especially urgent. Failure to reinforce and/or replace damaged parts quickly may result in irreparable harm to the affected area.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder; your immune system attacks your healthy cells causing inflammation. Though it can occur all over the body in multiple tissues, joints – specifically, the lining that protects the joints – are particularly prone to symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The good news is that symptoms tend to start in smaller joints, so it may be a while between the onset of the condition and the point where it becomes problematic enough to think about knee surgery. That doesn't mean you should ignore your symptoms, though. Chronic, untreated inflammation can have lasting consequences for your entire body.
Septic arthritis must be treated with urgency. Typically caused by an injury, this condition occurs when bacteria enter the injury (either to the joint itself or anywhere else on the body) and cause an infection. Septic arthritis can be either lead to or be a result of sepsis, which is also known as "blood poisoning;" the bacterial infection can travel to any part of your body through your bloodstream. Untreated, this leads to organ failure and death.
Gout and Pseudogout are both forms of arthritis. Most of the time, gout begins in the largest joint of your big toe. It does worsen if left unchecked, meaning it's sure to affect your knee sooner or later. Pseudogout, on the other hand, tends to start in the knee. Both are characterized by sudden attacks of pain, swelling, and tenderness in the affected joint. An attack of gout may be an isolated incident, but it can also be recurring and intermittent.
Do I Really Need Surgery?
Surgery is never convenient. If you have a condition that is not immediately life-threatening, or if you're worried that such a procedure could have a negative effect on other areas of your life, you may wonder if it's prudent to postpone surgery. Only you can decide what's best for you. In cases where you can afford to wait, we give you all the information available to us so you can make a healthy, informed decision.