According to New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer, osteoarthritis – also referred to as “wear and tear arthritis” – is a loss of the cartilage that caps the end of the femur, the top of the tibia, and underneath the kneecap. It is similar to the white cartilage found on the end of a chicken bone.
As this cartilage wears away, the wear can turn into to “bone-on-bone arthritis”, which typically results in severe pain, swelling, stiffness and weakness in the knee. The arthritis that develops can limit a patient’s ability to participate in the everyday activities they enjoy such as hiking or running.
Before considering any surgery for arthritis, your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon recommends that his patients first consider all nonsurgical treatment options. Even with arthritis, many patients can still enjoy low impact aerobic exercises such as biking or swimming.
Weight loss is recommended for patients whose BMI is above 25. If the arthritis is limited to one side of the knee, an unloading knee brace provides relief for most patients. Anti-inflammatory medications can also provide some relief as can an occasional steroid injection.
If all nonsurgical treatments have failed and x-rays and a physical exam are all consistent with end-stage arthritis, then a partial or full knee replacement may be prescribed by your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon.
However, to be a candidate for partial knee replacement, the arthritis should be mostly confined to just one section of the knee. Furthermore, the patient’s ligaments must be intact around the knee and cannot have an inflammatory arthritis disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis.
If a patient meets these conditions, and if their arthritis is largely limited to just one section of the knee, then they may be a good candidate for partial knee replacement.
These surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis. Patients can walk on their knee right away, although it can take one to two weeks for them to be able to walk comfortably without the use of crutches. Physical therapy is started immediately after surgery to help restore the patient’s range of motion and strength.
If you feel that you may be a candidate for partial knee replacement surgery, call the office of New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer today to schedule a consultation.