When is the timing right to consider knee replacement surgery?

One of the most fundamental questions anyone who suffers from chronic knee pain will ask is - at what point should I have knee replacement surgery?

You have tried collagen and other dietary supplements, you have lost weight, had phsysio, you have had appointments with the consultant rheumatologist, and been taking anti-inflammatory drugs as well as a range of different strength pain killers. But the fact is that your knees are still painful and generally slowing your progress. Have your knees now worn out, and should knee replacement surgery perhaps have been considered sooner? 

These are some of the questions that we put to London's top performing (according to the National Joint Registry) knee surgeon, Mr Sam Rajaratnam.

Worn out knees?

Walking the dogsSam explains when the timing may be right to consider total knee replacement. He says that all decision making, "has to be based on an assessment of the individual anatomical differences, accurate and advanced diagnostics, consideration of the patient's own needs and the range of symptoms that are being experienced".

I want to be able to walk my dog

Everyone is different with different expectations that can range from, for example,  wanting to get back into full active sport or just be able to take the dog for a walk.

It is important that a number of questions should be properly considered, asked and answered satisfactorily. Some of these questions will include the following:

  1. What are the typical signs that knee replacement surgery may be required?
  2. Why do the symptoms of knee degeneration vary so much?  
  3. Should surgery always be considered as a last resort ?  
  4. Can you leave surgery for an osteoarthritic knee too late? 

Sam says, "The decision to operate and perform a knee replacement is a shared process, and a careful conversation needs to occur regarding the timing, method, procedure, risks and benefits".

See - When should I have a total knee replacement?

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