As a treatment option, your doctor can suggest knee replacement surgery but it’s up to you to decide whether you want to have the surgery or not. Some patients may opt for knee replacement surgery as soon as their doctors suggest it while others may try to postpone getting the surgery for as long as possible.When considering knee replacement surgery, some of the most important questions to consider are: How is knee pain affecting my lifestyle? Are all other treatment options out of the picture? And What are the risks associated with not undergoing knee replacement surgery?

How is the Knee Pain Affecting my Lifestyle?

The severity of the pain and how well it is tolerated are unique to each individual. If your knee pain affects your sleeping, socializing, working, or other daily activities, then it is highly advisable to consider a knee replacement surgery.

  • Active lifestyles and knee pain

It is seen that people who lead an active lifestyle tend to get more affected by knee pain/s and decide to have knee replacement surgery at the earliest. If for example, your daily activities include standing for work, babysitting, dog walking, etc, you will have a higher incidence of pain from your arthritic knee than a person who leads a more sedentary lifestyle.

  • Joint damage and pain do not always match up

Based on your medical imaging (such as an MRI or x-ray) which shows severe knee degeneration, don’t decide on a knee replacement surgery. Base it on moderate to severe knee arthritis symptoms that correlate with medical imaging.

Are all the other treatments out of the picture?

Before considering knee replacements, experts normally recommend nonsurgical treatments for anyone who is suffering from knee osteoarthritis. Nonsurgical treatments include losing weight, taking pain medications, engaging in physical therapy and exercise, bracing, getting therapeutic knee injections, etc. (Some doctors may also propose stem cell injections or PRP, though they are not considered standard treatments)

What are the risks associated with not undergoing knee replacement surgery?

  • Knee Replacement Surgery Video

There is an increased risk for bone damage at the knee, falling, and other wear and tear injuries that affect joint biomechanics.

  • The risk of falling

As you get older, falling can result in life-altering injuries. Knee replacement surgeries are advised for knee arthritis symptoms including a sensation that the affected knee may buckle, a sense of falling, etc.

  • The risk of bone damage

Damaged bone can occur as the result of moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis. Your likelihood of successful knee surgery can be reduced if you have bone damage. Joint damage gets worse over time as knee arthritis is a progressive, degenerative condition. Friction can occur between the top of the shinbone and the bottom of the thighbone as the knee cartilage wears away. Over time, bone damage can occur as a result of friction. Regarding how fast the bone tissue will get damaged, there is no sure way to predict it.

  • The risk of joint problems

Changes to knee biomechanics can occur if arthritic knee joint denegation occurs. Take, for example, the case where knee pain causes conscious or unconscious changes in gait, hip problems may occur over time. A physical therapist can help identify potential or existing problems and also evaluate the knee’s biomechanics.  

Deciding on Having Knee Replacement Surgery

Regarding whether or not to have a replacement surgery, a physician can be helpful as they would consider your lifestyle, health history, and health circumstances and discuss it in depth to help you make an informed choice.

When is the best time?

If you are looking at the prospect of getting the knee replacement done, it is better to do it sooner than later. Keep in mind that you can not just rush into such a decision. Consider some of the aspects below mentioned before deciding to go for a knee replacement surgery.

  • Will somebody be available to help you at the hospital and also to take you to the hospital and back?
  • Will somebody be there to help you with your daily activities and meals during the recovery period?
  • Can you make arrangements with work during and post-surgery?

Approximately 1-3 days in the hospital will be required after surgery, and it can take almost up to 6 weeks for you to be able to get back to doing activities normally. Most people can go ahead with driving after 3-6 weeks. Keeping all such things in mind would be helpful when you are planning to decide on a knee replacement surgery date and time.

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