THE DOCTOR IS IN: Separating Facts from Fiction of Knee Replacement
Knee replacements have come a long way over the years, and along with improvements are misconceptions. Modern medicine is now able to reduce your post-surgical “down time” and in many cases, avoid surgery altogether. Let’s take a look at some of those myths.
Myth: You have to have knee surgery.
Truth: No one should tell you that you have to have surgery. YOU, the patient, determine when the time is right. Your orthopedic surgeon can show you the progression of your condition and discuss your discomfort level, however you are the one who makes the final decision. Many times knee discomfort may be managed conservatively with options such as NSAIDS, physical therapy, strengthening, injections, or PRP (platelet rich plasma).
Myth: Advertising shows people running and jumping after knee surgery.
Truth: Don’t fall prey to marketing. Everyone is unique and outcomes are different based on your individual situation. Returning to golf and tennis are reasonable expectations after knee replacement for many patients. Dropping 10 pounds prior to surgery and following your physical therapy instructions will make a difference in recovery.
Myth: My knee should feel like it did when I was 17.
Truth: All surgeries require a period of adjustment in recovery. If you’re 60 years old, expecting your knee to behave as it did when you were a teen is not realistic. Since everyone is different, your recovery will depend on you. Most patients are happy how their knee feels after replacement and would recommend replacement.
Myth: I heard a lecture that knee replacements don’t work and I should have regenerative therapy instead.
Truth: According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, over 90% of people having a knee replacement experienced reduced pain and are able to return to their normal activities they previously gave up. While PRP and Stem Cell Therapies are options, they aren’t the “golden ticket” you may hear in lectures peddling the fountain of youth. These may be helpful for some, but they do not “cure” arthritis and are not presently covered under insurance. Remember, everyone is different and what works for some, won’t work for others.
Bottom line: Know your orthopedic surgeon and ask questions. Based on my condition, how much improvement should I expect? What are the risks/complications? When can I go back to work? May I drive? The more you know, the lower your anxiety level and the better your ability to make decisions. ###
Steven Page, MD is a Fellowship Trained / Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with a specialty in Sports Medicine. He specializes in surgical and non-surgical treatment of knees and shoulders. Sarasota Orthopedic Associates offers same day/next day appointments in all three locations. Visit 360-ORTHOPEDICS or call 941-951-2663 for more information.