Total knee replacements (also known as ‘knee arthroplasty’) will impact your life immediately following the surgery and for years after. If you’re considering total knee replacement due to torn meniscus knee pain, here are three things to know.
What to Know Before Getting a Knee Replacement
Persistent knee pain is frustrating and can impact your happiness and quality of life. These adverse effects can take their toll on anyone. It’s important to understand what’s involved with a knee replacement surgery and what knee replacement alternatives and treatment options are available.
1. Knee replacement surgery shouldn’t be your first line of treatment.
Even if your knee pain is significant, most doctors will recommend non-operative treatment options before recommending knee replacement surgery. This might include weight loss, an exercise regimen, medications, cortisone or other injection therapies, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, such as a meniscectomy, or bracing.
2. Knee replacement surgery isn’t typically recommended if you’re younger than 50.
Recommendations for surgery are based on a patient’s level of pain and disability. Most patients who undergo a total knee replacement are age 50-80. This is because, knee replacements are not as durable as your own knee and eventually wear out. On average, a total knee replacement lasts about 15-20 years. So if you have the procedure in your 40s, you’ll likely need another – or revision – surgery later in life. What’s worse than having to go through another surgery, is that the second surgery is much harder than the first.
The goal of the second knee replacement surgery is the same as the first – to relieve pain and improve function. However, revision surgery is a longer, more complex procedure that requires extensive planning, specialized implants and tools, prolonged operating times, and mastery of difficult surgical techniques. You’ll also be older and less resilient when you need the second surgery which is why doctors don’t usually recommend knee replacement for younger patients.
3. An artificial meniscus may soon be available.
If you are suffering from knee pain following meniscus surgery or are without viable treatment options, the NUsurface®Meniscus Implant may provide an alternative option, once it has approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. NUsurface’s design mimics the function of the natural meniscus and redistributes weight across the knee joint. The implant is made from medical grade plastic and, as a result of its unique materials, composite structure, and design, does not require fixation to bone or soft tissues.
NUsurface can potentially address the treatment gap of those who are too old for meniscus repair and too young for total knee arthroplasty. U.S. clinical trials completed enrollment in June 2018, and the company expects to file for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval soon.
Know All of Your Treatment Options
Your doctor may give you additional or alternate information regarding knee pain and total knee replacement surgery. If you have questions about treatment options, schedule an appointment to discuss what’s right for you. Contact us today to learn more about NUsurface as a knee pain treatment option.
(CAUTION – Investigational device. Limited by United States law to investigational use.)