If you have knee osteoarthritis or are considering knee replacement surgery, you already know how painful your knees can be on a daily basis. You may have to take anti-inflammatory and pain medication just to make it through the day. In addition, you may have tried several cortisone shot injections, only to have the pain return within a few weeks or months. Besides, the problems with cortisone injections can be problematic. Depending on your level of pain and the condition of your knee, your doctor may suggest knee replacement surgery. Before you make the choice to have invasive surgery, make sure you understand the risks and potential problems that are associated with this type of surgery.
Whether your doctor tells you this or not, there are several great knee replacement alternatives available today. The alternatives are designed for those people who want relief from their knee injury or osteoarthritis, without the need for invasive surgery.
Below is a closer look at just what is involved in knee replacement surgery, and several successful knee replacement alternatives that are proven very effective at treating injuries, arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Knee Replacement Surgery
During knee replacement surgery, the surgeon will remove the portion of the cartilage and bones around the knee that are damaged. These parts are then replaced with artificial parts that are made out of metal or a high-quality plastic material. This invasive surgery will require anesthesia and several days of recovery in the hospital. The surgery is followed up by several weeks or months of intensive physical therapy. This surgery can be quite painful and involves an extensive recovery period.
Naturally, as an invasive surgery, this procedure has all of the same risks, such as infection, blood clots, stroke, heart attack, or nerve damage, associated with other types of surgeries. Infection is a major concern with knee replacement surgery, because it could cause the need for an additional surgery to remove the infected parts and replace them with new artificial parts.
There will be wear and tear on the artificial joints that could over time require an additional replacement surgery. The recovery period is usually four to six weeks, but it could take up to one year to get all of the movement back into your knee area.
The Top 4 Knee Replacement Alternatives
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is quickly becoming one of the top knee replacement alternatives. This therapy uses stem cells that are found naturally inside adult bone marrow and fat. They are not be confused with embryonic stem cells. These cells have a unique ability to repair damaged tissues, including the tissues in the knee joints.
The problem is that many people facing a degenerated disease, such as knee osteoarthritis, have stem cells that are not being released as often as is needed to repair the damaged tissue.
Stem cell therapy fixes this problem, by injecting stem cells into the affected area allowing them to naturally make the necessary repairs to the knee joints. The risk of side effects or rejection, especially compared to knee replacement surgery, are minimal.
This type of treatment is perfect for those suffering from mild or moderate cases of knee osteoarthritis. It allows patients to avoid the necessity of invasive surgery, yet still offers relief from their knee joint pain. The treatment is conducted by injecting a special lubricant (Hyaluronan Gel) into the area between the rubbing bones in your knee. This lubricant works as a special cushioning to offer relief from arthritis pain.
The treatment has worked very well for patients who are not ideal surgery candidates, such as those with diabetes or heart conditions. If you have pain when going up stairs or difficulty getting up from a kneeling position, then you are probably a good candidate for viscosupplementation treatments.
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)
PRP has been used for years in the sports industry to help athletes who suffered from various ailments, such as ACL, PCL, MCL, an LCL tears in the knee area. However, it has also become a great knee replacement alternative for certain people.
This treatment uses your own blood with high concentrations of growth hormones, enzymes, and other cells used in the healing process. It is performed by taking a small amount of your blood and removing the important nutrients that are found in your blood, which are known to help the body repair damaged tissue naturally. This concentrated blood is then injected back into your body, which works to heal the damaged area of the knee.
PRP treatments are not like cortisone injections where the pain is masked for a short period time and then fades away. These treatments take time! It usually takes one to five procedures and careful monitoring to determine if additional procedures are necessary.
Medical Ozone Treatment
This treatment is designed to permanently repair the damaged area of the knee and not just provide simple pain relief. It is considered a relatively safe knew replacement alternative that causes only minimal pain and discomfort. It works by using the powerful elements in ozone to help heal the area. This works because circulation in the body directly effects how quickly an injured area of the body will repair itself. Without proper circulation, repairs to the damaged tissues can be virtually impossible.
Medical ozone treatments help by reducing the inflammation in your knee area to promote better circulation. In addition, the ozone provides the body with what it needs to heal at a faster, more efficient rate. Typically, only three to five treatments are needed to achieve the right results. It is important to note these alternatives are not right for all types of knee problems.
It is vital that you talk directly with your doctor or seek out a second opinion to determine, which of these alternatives would be right for your specific situation. However, it is equally important to realize that many people across the country are finding these treatments to be a safe and effective alternative to knee replacement surgery.
Two Ways To Help Avoid A Knee Replacement
- Weight Loss And Exercise: By losing weight you are helping put less stress on your knees. Just by losing a few pounds can take a tremendous amount of stress off of your knee. You can achieve weight loss by exercising regularly.
- Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist can help you come up with a plan to help take some stress off of your knees. Physical therapists can make sure that you are doing exercises properly and giving your knee the right therapy it needs.
As with any form of medical treatment, you should consult with your physician before embarking on any treatment plan. The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be deemed accurate for the purposes of diagnosing your particular medical condition.