Some Insight into the Role of Knee Specialists in Pretoria
There is a great deal more to the role of most knee specialists, than just replacing a damaged joint with a suitable prosthesis, whether based in Pretoria or in any reasonably large city within the developed world. There are three main reasons why an individual is likely to experience pain in this particular joint, of which the most common is the long-term wear and tear that results from aging. While the pain and resulting loss of mobility in the joint may be due to rheumatoid arthritis, it is the alternative form known as osteoarthritis that is most frequently the culprit.
In the course of their jobs, many workers are apt to subject their joints to overuse. This can also result in inflammation of the associated tendons, which then presents as swelling and pain. The same effect is frequently encountered in runners, especially when allowing insufficient time for recovery between their training sessions or races.
Certainly, sports such as rugby, soccer, netball and skiing carry a high risk of acute injury, and contribute to the growing demand for the services of knee specialists, both in Pretoria and worldwide. However, before an orthopaedic surgeon will be able to decide upon the most appropriate intervention, a thorough evaluation leading to an accurate diagnosis is essential.
The range of surgical procedures offered for knee pain needs to be extensive, as it must cater not just for joints that may require total or partial replacement, but also for an equally wide range of possible contingencies. In addition to X-ray and other scanning techniques, arthroscopy, in which a type of endoscope is inserted into the joint to study it internally, provides a valuable diagnostic aid, as well as the means with which to perform so-called keyhole surgeries in cases where this may be a suitable and less invasive option. Typically, it is used to remove bone and cartilage fragments that might cause articular damage or osteoarthritis – a procedure known as “clean out” arthroscopy.
Among the other procedures undertaken by knee specialists in Pretoria and elsewhere, are various treatments for a torn meniscus cartilage that includes transplantation of donor cartilage, reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament, lateral release of the patella to correct displacement, and repair to the patellar and quadriceps tendons to restore flexibility, as well as total and partial joint replacements.
None of these surgical interventions will normally be undertaken without first considering the other viable options. Typically, an orthopaedic practitioner will only advocate surgery once alternative, non-invasive treatments, such as pain medication and physiotherapy, have been tried and have proved to be ineffective. That said, today, the prognosis for those who undergo such procedures is excellent. For example, those who are fitted with a prosthetic joint should be able to start walking on the day following their surgery, and will be required to do so as part of the recovery process. Although a full recovery may take 4 to 12 months, patients can look forward to at least 10 to 15 years of service from their artificial joint, and possibly as much as 20 years, before they are likely to require a new one.
Knee specialists in Pretoria and everywhere are required to undergo extensive training in their chosen specialism and, once qualified, to engage in programmes of continuing professional development, in order to remain abreast of the many advances resulting from ongoing research in their specialism. Within the nation’s administrative capital is our orthopaedic practice specialising in elective procedures that is attracting patients from all over South Africa, as well as from overseas. Under the leadership of Dr Jan De Vos, a hip, knee and shoulder surgeon, our practice has developed the status of an established leader in the fields of general orthopaedics, arthroscopy and arthroplasty.