Knee Surgery Specialists and Why They Are So Necessary

May 28, 2018 | Articles

Knee Surgery Specialists and Why They Are So Necessary

Over the course of an average lifetime, our joints will participate in a lot of punishing activities and, somewhat remarkably, in most cases, they manage to survive their ordeal reasonably well. Nevertheless, many people among both the young and the elderly will have reasons to be grateful for the attention of knee surgery specialists. The first sign that we may be in need of their professional skills will usually be persistent pain in this joint upon whose performance we are so dependent to complete many of those basic activities that are inherent in our daily lives.

There are three main reasons why one might experience a painful joint, the first being some form of arthritis of which the most common variety is osteoarthritis resulting from normal wear and tear, usually over a prolonged period. Secondly, overuse can lead to a condition known as tendonitis, which is commonly encountered in runners. Finally, sports such as skiing, in which participants are required to do a lot of turning, may often result in pain. All of these are common conditions in which it may become necessary to consult a knee surgery specialist.

Once the pain begins to interfere with sleep or your day-to-day activities, it is definitely time to make that appointment.

If, on the other hand, the joint shows obvious signs of deformity, makes a popping sound, or will not support your weight following a severe impact, immediate medical attention will be needed. In any case in which the pain is severe and persistent, a thorough evaluation and a firm diagnosis, followed by a discussion of the possible treatment, will need to be undertaken, not just by one of the ER doctors on duty, but by one of the hospital’s experienced knee surgery specialists.

Of the various orthopaedic procedures undertaken today, the most common is undoubtedly arthroscopy, in which a type of endoscope is inserted into the joint through a small incision. A camera in its tip provides the surgeon with a close-up view of damage and where indicated, he or she may choose to perform a biopsy for additional diagnostic use, or even to proceed with treatment where this is both a desirable step and one that appears to be feasible. It is a procedure commonly used to repair, trim, or excise a torn meniscus cartilage or even to replace it with cartilage from a donor.

Knee surgery specialists also use arthroscopy to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is the focus of around 40% of all sports injuries and can cause the joint to give-out unexpectedly when under pressure from the subject’s weight. Other common uses for this type of keyhole procedure include the removal of loose bone or cartilage fragments, excision of inflamed synovial tissue, repairs to tendons, the procedure known as lateral release used to reposition a misaligned patella, and even as a less invasive approach when required to perform a total or partial replacement of a damaged joint with a suitable prosthesis.

Where the symptoms are less acute and in cases where obesity may be cited as a causative factor, knee surgery specialists will often recommend pain relief in combination with physiotherapy to improve mobility and to slow the rate at which osteoarthritis or some other underlying disease process may be progressing. These, however, are only short-term management solutions and, ultimately, a more permanent solution is destined to entail some form of surgical intervention and, as is the case with any operation, its obvious benefits are likely to be tempered by a degree of risk.

Given the benefits offered by the complete relief of pain and the freedom to resume a normal, independent lifestyle, fewer than 5% of those operated on by a knee surgery specialist experience side effects, of which most are minor and readily treated. That said, age and general health issues may place some patients at greater risk than others.

Patients undergoing keyhole procedures are usually treated as day patients, but may occasionally be kept in overnight, while those undergoing more major procedures, such as a total joint replacement, may remain hospitalised for five to seven days. Post-operative exercise is important to recovery, and it will initially be prescribed and monitored by a physiotherapist who will probably recommend two or three sessions of 20 to 30 minutes per day.

At the hands of experienced knee surgery specialists, tens of thousands of patients have received a new lease of pain-free and active life.