Knee Surgery and the Road to Recovery


Knee surgery can solve many mobility problems and is a well-established treatment. Dr Angela Brivio of King Edward VII’s Hospital explains what is involved

What are the causes of knee joint damage?

The knee joint is one of the most complex joints in the human body and with such complexity often problems may occur. One in three of us will have significant knee pain at some point during our lives. Commonly, people will suffer an athletic or sporting injury in early life that means knee joint damage may occur as they become older. Equally, some people will suffer osteoarthritis or knee joint damage as a result of their genetic code, that is knee arthritis sometimes runs in families.

What can be done to postpone the necessity for knee joint replacement?

Most people would prefer to avoid knee surgery and by keeping fit with a healthy diet and maintaining your mobility, the knee joint can be kept healthy and well. There are non- surgical treatments to avoid knee replacement, such as hydronic acid injections and. Arthroscopy. There are also much more minimal operations such as partial knee resurfacing, which avoid the necessity for a major knee replacement procedure.

How do I know when a joint surgery is necessary?

Historically, patients were encouraged to wait as long as possible before considering knee joint replacement. Only when pain issues became significant did patients have a larger operation such as knee replacement. More recently, there are less invasive procedures which are easier to recover from such as knee resurfacing. Patients may choose these smaller interventions when their lifestyle begins to be impacted ie when they are forced to give up tennis, skiing or golf through discomfort and pain.

What are the surgical options for types of joint surgery?

There have been many significant advances in the recent years. Knee replacement remains a reliable option, but a procedure which is increasing is partial knee resurfacing. This is a much smaller procedure which resurfaces the part of the knee which has become damaged or worn, rather than removing the entire joint. This is because of the minimal intervention and rapid recovery that is possible in specialist units such as at King Edward VII’s Hospital and with expert surgeons.

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