Opting for knee surgery
By: Dr. Ramneek Mahajan
Arthritis is one of the most common disorders that affects joints. Primarily affecting people in the later part of life but nowadays it has started affecting people in their early forties. While there are many forms of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis of the knee.
Arthritis of the Knee
It happens when the cartilage in the knee joint breaks down, thus exposing the underlying bone which rubs together thereby leading to soreness of knee which later swells and becomes stiff too. The fricon makes knees hurt leading to severe pain. It directly affects the quality of life by confining the mobility of the person.
When is surgery required?
Osteoarthritis of knee is a slowly progressive inflammatory disease which if in the initial period is diagnosed can be slowed down but it is inevitable to stop its progression. There are many treatments available to slow its progression and ease the patient symptoms accordingly. Your doctor will first try non-surgical treatments before recommending a surgery.
How do you go about the surgery?
The first step would be to get an opinion from a good surgeon. A good hospital is also important. This means choose the hospital where they have quality of care and the surgeon is being backed up by a multiple disciplinary specialties. As in case of elderly parents, most suffer from other ailments like BP, diabetes, heart disease and other diseases associated with aging. An institution which has all these departments under one roof is the best place to be operated upon.
Which technology to use?
Patients are bombarded with latest technology offering various benefits which leaves the patient confused. Hence I would suggest the decision of the use of the technology to be left to your surgeon who is seasoned and well equipped to handle any technology with compassion. The doctor is the best decision maker to decide if the patient needs a computer aided technology or a robotic technology for performing the surgery.
Drawbacks of robotic surgery in knee replacement
The biggest drawback with robotic technology is that it is brand specific. That means it is provided by different companies and locked to its own knee systems. So, other brand knees (implants) cannot be used with that robotic technology. But the human body is not made like a machine. Every knee is different, and it is impossible to fit in one particular kind of implant in every person! Thus, the benefit of these systems is limited at present. Which knee system will suit which pa0ent depends upon the pa0ent profile like body weight, size of bones, age , damage done by osteoarthritis, etc.
World Arthritis Day 2022:Theme
“It’s in your hands, take action.” That means, you need to be proactive and positive in your need to get mobile. In our modern world today we have the capabilities and technology which provides more precision and perfection for every surgery. In the current times of high life expectancy and active lifestyles, quality of life should be the key word. Having a positive outlook to the surgery goes a long way in better outcomes too.
A good knee implant usually should last a patient life, thus parents are advised to engage with the trea0ng surgeon to ask him to use implants which has global clinical data, evidence behind it and world over literature suppor0ng its efficacy for better result.
Take home message
I’d like to end by saying, keep an open mind and a positive attitude. Once you choose, trust your surgeon. In the hands of an expert surgeon and with a good post surgical mobility plan, the success rate of a total knee replacement is incredibly high.
(The author is Senior Director and Head Joint Reconstruction Unit (Knee & Hip), Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi)