Arthritis can damage our joints as we age. In some cases, the pain is so severe that one has to get a total knee replacement. This joint replacement surgery corrects the worn our knee surfaces and the mechanics in knee movement. The ideal result is a pain-free, stable and aligned joint.
Delaying total knee replacement can have negative effects on postoperative outcomes and recovery. Arthritis is a progressive disease and damages knee joints over time. The more damage occurs the more your body will need to adapt to a new “damaged” condition of your knee. Sometimes these adaptations create deformities of the knee joint and stretch out the ligaments of the knee. As a result, the movements of your limbs become irregular, muscles and bones get weaker and there is more pressure put on other parts of your body such as the ankle, hip and spine.
On the other hand, having a total knee replacement too early can result in revision surgery somewhere down the road. Studies show that the younger you are at the time of total knee replacement the more likely it is that you will need revision surgery. Revision surgeries are complex, require specialized skill and the outcomes are rarely as good as the initial surgery.
The decision to delay your total knee replacement is a personal one and should be discussed with your orthopedic surgeon in detail. In some instances, it is safe to delay the surgery and manage arthritis pain conservatively. Losing weight is among one of those measures. It can relieve the stress your body has on your knee joint. A study done with overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis found that losing one pound of weight resulted in four pounds of pressure being removed from the knees. Yet another study showed that losing 10–20 percent of starting body weight improved pain, function, and quality of life better than losing just five percent of body weight.
However, if your pain is long-lasting, is present when you are resting and is interfering with your day to day activities, it is time to talk to a doctor about possible surgery. Surgeons and patients should work together to ensure the best outcome.
If you are placed on a long waiting list and are unable to see an orthopedic specialist in the public system, we can help connect you to a private option for your total knee replacement. We can get your X-ray reviewed by an orthopedic surgeon in a private, no wait manner. Give us a call toll-free 877 344 3544 and find out your private total knee replacement options in the US and Canada.