Knee replacement surgery can give you a new lease on life by increasing your mobility while decreasing your daily pain. When it comes to knee surgery, though, there are several choices you will need to make. While it is vital that you discuss your options with your doctor, it's also important that you at least have a basic idea of what your options could be. The following guide can help you prepare for a consultation with your doctor.
Partial Vs. Full Replacement
Your knee isn't a simple joint. It has three distinct areas, sometimes referred to as compartments, that are separate yet work together each time you move your knee. These consists of the inside of the knee, the outside of the knee, and the front of the knee.
Often, damage or arthritis only occurs in one or two of these compartments. Although you could have the full knee replaced, having only the part that is causing a problem replaced is a better option due to the shorter recovery period. This is because your natural healthy knee compartments can help absorb some of the extra stress as the replaced section heals.
Consider Future Treatments
Unfortunately, the choice to have a partial replacement isn't so cut and dry. The problem is that eventually you may need to undergo the procedure again, or you may need to have a different compartment replaced later. For this reason, doctors sometimes only recommend partial replacements for older patients.
For younger patients, full replacements are often advised since you won't need to come in for further replacements later. The issue is that a full replacement requires a longer recovery and a fully replaced knee may limit some of your activity choices. If you are not adverse to having more procedures as you age, a partial can still be the right choice.
Know the Surgery Options
Treatment goes beyond just partial and full replacement. There are also surgery options to choose between. There is standard surgery, which depends upon x-rays and your surgeon's skill. While this works well for full replacements, it can lead to some missed issues in a partial replacement.
Robotic surgery is the better choice for a partial replacement. Instead of X-rays, a CT scan is performed so a virtual 3-D model of the damaged knee can be formed and assessed. This model is then uploaded into a robotic surgery arm, which is guided by both the model and the surgeon to perform a much more precise partial replacement.
Talk with a surgeon in your area for more information on the best options for your knees.