Some Typical Procedures Performed by Knee Surgery Specialists
It is generally pain and swelling, often accompanied by decreased mobility that first prompts patients to seek help from one of the nation’s specialists in the art of knee surgery. There are a number of possible explanations for the discomfort and impaired mobility, so it is necessary for the healthcare professional to begin by identifying the underlying cause in order to determine what should prove to be the most suitable form of intervention.
Once, it would have been necessary to rely solely on clinical history and the information provided X-ray images to evaluate damage to the bone and surrounding tissues. Once established, it would have been necessary to expose the entire joint in order to treat the confirmed condition surgically. More recently, the development of a technique, known as arthroscopy, has made it possible for a clinician to perform a visible inspection of the internal structure of a joint, as well as for today’s orthopaedic specialists to perform intricate knee surgery with the aid of just two or three tiny incisions.
The arthroscopic is a narrow tube with a miniature video camera and light located at its tip. Inserted into a joint via a keyhole incision, the camera relays a real-time image via a fibre optic cable to a monitor screen or eyepiece, allowing the surgeon to identify the nature and extent of any damage. One form of damage encountered quite frequently, and which is common among those involved in sports, is a torn meniscus.
In such cases, knee surgery specialists have three possible courses of action, and the choice depends on the extent of the damage. Often, a meniscectomy, in which the torn area is just trimmed, will suffice to relieve the symptoms while, in other cases, it may be possible to undertake a repair with no need for excision. Where the damage is too extreme, the meniscus may be removed completely, and a donor meniscus transplanted.
Occasionally, the patella or kneecap can become misaligned, most often due to excessive tightening of the ligament known as the lateral retinaculum. This can give rise to intense pain when bending the joint. It will now be the task of a knee surgery specialist to perform a procedure known as a lateral release. The surgery is performed using an arthroscope, and involves loosening the offending ligament, thereby realigning the displaced patella and preventing future dislocations.
Involving another of the four ligaments serving these joints, in this case, the anterior cruciate, when torn, it can result in instability of the joint, and those who experience it will often complain that their knee has a tendency to just give out from under them when they put their weight on it. Following a diagnostic arthroscopy, if an ACL tear is confirmed, the next step for the knee surgery specialist will be to repair the damaged ligament by means of an autologous graft, or by using tissue harvested from a suitable donor.
Regarded by the majority of patients and physicians as the crowning achievement in the field of orthopaedics, the ability to replace a damaged joint with a prosthetic substitute has proved to be a life-changing opportunity for tens of thousands of patients across the globe. Made possible through the fusion of surgical skills and science, one of the most common reasons for an orthopaedic surgeon to perform a total or partial joint replacement is as a means to overcome the damage caused by the condition known as osteoarthritis.
The disease causes erosion of the cartilage that normally protects the articulating surfaces of the bones in the joint. In this particular case, these will be the femur and tibia. The exposed bone surfaces are now free to grind together, resulting in splintering that first leads to pain, and later, to loss of mobility. Knee surgery specialists remove the heads of any damaged bones, replacing them with metal, plastic, or ceramic substitutes.