According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Americans undergo about 600,000 knee replacements annually. This popular procedure increased nearly 100% from 2000-2010, but many believe it is over-utilized and that there are important reasons to avoid surgery. In fact, research shows that up to 1 in 3 knee replacements are actually deemed “medically inappropriate.” Asking these 5 questions will help you decide if Knee Replacement Surgery is right for you.
1. Is the surgery even necessary for me?
A recent study by Daniel Riddle, Ph.D., of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond found that “34% of total knee replacements performed in the U.S. are not appropriate according to international guidelines.” Because U.S. regulations still need to be reformed, surgery might not truly be the best or only option, and an objective second opinion will be invaluable.
2. What are the potential risks and complications?
No matter how routine a surgery is, complications are always a possibility. There is always a risk of infection, adverse response to anesthesia, blood clots, and even neurovascular injury. Additionally, many people report an increase in pain and decrease in mobility after the knee replacement. Even when the procedure is successful, most knee replacements will have to be re-done within 10-15 years. Be sure you understand the potential problems and determine if they are outweighed by the benefits of your expected outcome.
3. What are my alternative, non-surgical treatment options?
There are many excellent, non-surgical alternatives for eliminating pain and for improving joint function. Things like weight management to reduce pressure on a damaged joint, physical therapy exercises to increase balance and stability, bracing and joint realignment, and injections for increased lubrication and cushioning, and decreased inflammation and friction can be effective enough to avoid surgery. At Flexogenix we’ve created a comprehensive treatment plan called Knee-Flex 5 that utilizes many of the treatment options into one complete non-surgical program.
4. Can knee replacement wait?
One reason to consider avoiding surgery as long as possible is the future potential of a Knee Replacement Revision, a procedure to correct a failed joint replacement. Although today’s implants are designed to last many years, more than 54,000 knee revisions are performed in the U.S. annually, and it’s estimated that over half of these procedures take place within two years of the initial knee replacement. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “revisions are long and complex, require special surgical skills and are rarely as successful as the first operation at restoring normal function and range of motion.” The younger the patients are when they have the first surgery and the longer they live afterward, the more likely they will be to need revision surgery.
5. What is the recovery process?
The recovery and rehabilitation process following such a complex surgery will be at least a three to twelve month commitment, and requires dedication and diligence to achieve the most desirable outcome. Will you be able to commit the time and resources necessary to undergo and recover from a major surgery? Do you have the support you need to transition from the hospital through the very important first 12 weeks?
Are you looking for an effective non-surgical treatment to end knee pain?
Knee Replacement Surgery should never be considered the first or only option for eliminating knee pain and restoring function. At Flexogenix, we offer the latest non-surgical techniques for treating joint pain, including viscosupplementation and regenerative medicine. Contact us today for a free consultation to see if our treatments are a good fit for you!