When Does One Need a Knee Replacement Surgery?

The result of knee joint being the largest and most complex joint, is that it is the most stressed joint in the human body. Almost the whole body relies on it and it helps in basic tasks like walking, running, sitting, and standing. This excessive stress can often lead to arthritis for which one may need a knee replacement. Whether the person needs total or partial knee replacement depends on the type of arthritis and how much has the knee joint degenerated. More than 10 million people around the world are affected by arthritis every year.

The reasons why majority of people go for knee replacement surgery, include:

1.To decrease pain: In severe cases of arthritis, the person reaches a point where even heavy painkillers are not effective. As a result, the doctor suggests knee replacement surgery.

2.To increase mobility: Arthritis causes stiffness in the joint which causes severe pain when there is some movement. Knee replacement surgery helps remove that stiffness and increase mobility.

3.To improve quality of living: The stiffness in the joints makes participating in daily activities difficult, and the quality of life deteriorates. Knee replacement surgery brings back the flexibility of the joint so the person can live the same life he/she lived before arthritis.

Following are the types of arthritis which may lead to the knee replacement surgery:

1.Osteoarthritis: This is the most common in people above the age of 50 years. It occurs when the cartilage on the knee's gliding surface begins to wear down. It leads to stiffness and, thus, causes pain. As it progresses, the cartilage completely wears down and the bones, femur and tibia, rubs against each other to cause chronic pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis can also affect a person whose family has a history of arthritis and those who stress the joints highly, i.e. athletes and labourers.

2.Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease. In this, the immunity system of the body begins to attack the synovial membrane, leading to its inflammation and producing synovial fluid in joints. Synovial fluid is the fluid which lubricates the joints. As it progresses, rheumatoid arthritis also causes wear and tear to the articular cartilage.

3.Traumatic Arthritis: This is the result of a serious knee injury, like a fracture, meniscus tear, ligament damage, etc. In many cases, the impact of the injury also affects the articular cartilage. Over time, this damage develops into arthritis, causing stiffness and pain.

Another reason for which one might need knee replacement surgery is the abnormal alignment or formation of the knee. This abnormal formation/alignment leads to high stress on the joint, which results in degeneration. The misalignment, sometimes also often referred to as bowlegged or knock knees, forms an unnatural angle between the bones of the knee joint, femur and tibia. Over time, the cartilage eventually wears away and the person needs knee replacement surgery.

Every surgery is accompanied by certain risks and benefits. Although the benefits can be tempting, one cannot overlook the risks involved. For example, if a person is looking to go for knee replacement surgery in Delhi, it is advised that he/she visits a good knee replacement hospital in Delhi and consults a doctor for all its benefits and risk before opting for the surgery.