Knee arthritis has become a major health problem in today’s age where walking is slowly being pushed to the back for the comfort of moving on a vehicle. Once affecting old people the health issue is affecting even young people today. In present day where people are living much longer and are wanting to live independently, knee arthritis becomes a debilitating problem in many in the population.
Arthritis of the knees can be due to a lot of factors. Lifestyle choice have lot to do with early onset of the problem. Muscle weakness, obesity, heredity, joint injury or stress, constant exposure to the cold besides age-related issues. also those work in place that applies repetitive stress on the knees are at a high risk of developing this condition. Bone deformities increase the risk for osteoarthritis of the knee since the joints are already malformed and may contain defective cartilage.
In early arthritis, various treatments such as physiotherapy analgesics, life style modifications can help as well as certain neutraceuticals such as glucosamine, chondroitin , collagen peptides that help slow down further progression.
Total Knee Replacement is the only option when other methods of treatment have failed. When required Total Knee Replacement is an excellent surgery with extremely high success rates. Every year in US alone about 700000 (seven lacs) total knee replacements are performed. When performed with a good quality technique, total knee replacement surgery has over 99 % success rate and on an average can except to last 25 years.
Most people who undergo this treatment get relief from pain and don’t seem to require any medication and are able to lead a very active life.
How to go about it?
In the preplan for treating early arthritis, the surgical instruments are custom made based on the scans of the patient for more accurate results. Age is not a criteria for Total Knee Replacement surgery although ideal age would be above 60 years. But it can be performed on any age in adults if there is severe arthritis and the quality of life is being significantly affected.
What happens after 20 to 30 years
After 20 to 30 years the knee replacement prosthesis may become lose and may need to be replaced again (Revision Total Knee Replacement). If performed at right stage and with right technique, this can also give excellent results with long lasting relief.
Over the years, there have been many developments in this surgery to increase the success rate, survival time and patient satisfaction. Among the important developments in this technique are Oxinium knees, a new type pf patented material that have a low wear rate and can last upto 30 years, rating platform which allow more bending, lesser wear.
For those patients where only one part of their knees is damaged, a unicondylar knee has an excellent outcome which lasts upto 20 years and helps in retaining healthy knee impact. This can actually help one in delaying Total Knee Replacement surgery by atleast 15 to 20 years. Minimally invasive surgery is another option patients can look at as post operative recovery is much faster and pain relatively lesser. Stem cells therapy in arthritis has no proven role at all and research so far had not shown any benefit or improvement. These are being used in research and as experimental therapies. They are not approved to be used on regular patients.
Dr K Sudhir Reddy,Joint Replacement Surgeon,Nova Specialty Hospital