If you have not experienced adequate results with medication and other conservative treatments, surgery may provide the pain relief you long for, in addition to allowing you to return to the lifestyle and activities you enjoy. Your doctor can tell you whether you might benefit from joint replacement and explain the reasons why it may, or may not, be right for you.
If you and your doctor decide that surgery is an option to relieve your pain, your doctor will provide the specific-to-you details of which type of artificial joint he or she will use, what you need to know to prepare for the surgery, how the surgery will be performed, and what you can expect once you are up and moving again.
If surgery is necessary to address your pain, your doctor may consider knee replacement.
Surgery is a difficult decision. You should talk with your doctor to better understand the risks and complications before making the decision to undergo knee replacement; but keep in mind that osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, which means that the disease, and your pain, is likely to get worse over time. So why wait? Consider the fact that better outcomes have been reported in those patients who had a total joint operation earlier in their disease process.1 Two years after their operation, patients who chose surgery earlier in the disease process had improved function and reduced pain compared to those who waited.1
1. Fortin, P, et al. Timing of Total Joint Replacement Affects Clinical Outcomes Among Patient with Osteoarthritis of the Hip or Knee, Arthritis a& Rheumatism. 2002;46(12):pp. 3327 – 3330.
2. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website, http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00299, accessed Oct. 2008.