Surgical Treatment: Osteoarthritis of the Knee PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 30 August 2013 00:00

intheorIn the past we have been promoting exercise to increase functionality of the joint. We have also discussed the non-surgical methods of dealing with osteoarthritis.  Looking back we have learned that we treat osteoarthritis because, pain relief is essential in getting back functionality and improve overall health. Also we have learned that the more you become inactive the more your health deteriorates. If your everyday activities and functionality are being limited or halt by a painful knee, our suggestion is to get help ASAP.

The first line of treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee is always conservative non-surgical treatment. However, if these treatments does not relieve pain and improve function, your orthopedic doctor may recommend surgery. The choice of treatment should be a joint decision between you and your physician.




Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that makes use of a small incisions and miniature instruments. A tiny telescope, called an arthroscope, is inserted into the joint space, which is then filled with fluids so the surgeon can clearly see the components of the joint. This enables him to look directly at the bone surfaces and determine how advanced your arthritis is.

Using the miniature arthroscopic instruments, the surgeon can trim damaged cartilage, remove loose particles or debris from the joint (débridement), and clean the joint (lavage or irrigation). If other problems are discovered, such as a torn meniscus (a C-shaped piece of cartilage that cushions the knee) or a damaged ligament, the surgeon can correct them during the same surgery.

Arthroscopy can be helpful if your joint pain results from a tear in the cartilage or meniscus, or if bits of debris are causing problems with bending or straightening the joint.

In people below 55 years old, arthroscopic surgery may help delay the need for more serious surgery, such as a joint replacement. However, arthroscopy is not the best option for everyone and does not reverse the arhtritic process. Although the incisions are small and you may experience minimal pain, it takes more time for the joint to fully recover. Your physician will prescribe a specific activity and rehabilitation program to encourage recovery and protect future function of the joint.



An osteotomy may be recommended if damage to your knee cartilage is primarily in one section (compartment) of the knee. This may also be recommended if a broken knee does not heal properly. This procedure involves reshaping the bones to improve knee alignment. The surgeon repositions the joint to move the mechanical axis of weight bearing for the limb away from the damaged area. This shifts the stresses of weight bearing from the damaged section to a healthier part of the knee.

An osteotomy can restore knee function and diminish osteoarthritis pain. It may even stimulate the growth of new cartilage. Although an osteotomy can decrease pain and improve function, the results often deteriorate over the long term. Many people who have an osteotomy will eventually need a total knee replacement (arthroplasty).



An arthroplasty is a joint replacement procedure. If your knee pain is severe and significantly limits your movement, your physician may recommend that the diseased bone and tissue be replaced by an artificial joint.

If your arthritis is localized to one side of the knee, an orthopaedic surgeon may recommend a unicompartmental knee arthroplasty. If both sides of the knee are affected, a total joint replacement may be more appropriate. The replacement parts are made of cobalt-chrome or titanium metals and smooth, wear-resistant plastic (polyethylene).

The results of total joint replacement are generally excellent. Patients experience significant pain relief and improved physical functioning and the success rate with most prostheses (artificial joint) today is about 90%.

Your orthopedic surgeon should discuss the type of knee replacement, the type of surgery (minimal incision or standard incision), the potential risks, and the rehabilitation protocol with you before you make your decision.

We believe that the most important thing in choosing any surgical treatment is that you are well informed and educated about your condition and possible options. Work closely with your doctor, be interactive and ask questions.


Article c/o AAOS


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This 2015 AOJR wants to talk to you and your community about arthritis. Take part and join us in  promoting awareness about the social, emotional and health impact of arthritis as well as its evidence based treatments. Help us improve lives by creating awareness. You can contact us by calling 710-8292 or email us at 













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Who else but our patients can testify to AOJR’s expertise in joint replacement surgery and how we helped improve their lives. Here are what some of our patients have to say:


Alcera" After the operation, I thought I wouldn't be ableto enjoy the same lifestyle as I had before. I was wrong, It's amazing how I can still enjoy activites likes dancing and aerobics."

Doris Alcera, 63y.o. Total Knee Replacement, February 2011

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