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Knee replacement is a big success story for medicine. Ninety percent of people who have such surgery can walk and do other normal activities without pain. Surgeons can do knee replacements these days using minimally invasive techniques, reducing scarring and speeding recovery. About 4.5 million Americans are now living with an artificial knee joint.
Arthritis is the most common cause of knee pain, and sports injuries can lead to arthritis. In fact, the desire to keep playing a favorite sport has led more people to seek surgery for relief from knee pain. The sharpest rises in knee surgery have occurred among women and among patients age 45 to 64.
If you have knee replacement surgery, the doctor will remove damaged cartilage and bone and replace them with metal, ceramic or plastic parts. After a short hospital stay, you’ll continue recovering at home.
Recovery may be swifter if a surgeon uses a minimally invasive approach. Other advantages to this type of surgery include a smaller incision, less pain after the operation and stronger muscles around the knee.
Knee replacements may wear out after 10 to 20 years. Your doctor might advise that you avoid high-impact activities, such as jogging and jumping, to protect your new knee. But you can usually safely return to sports like swimming, walking, golfing, and hiking.
How to Decide
Talk with your doctor about whether minimally invasive knee replacement is right for you. Your doctor may recommend it if:
In most cases, you can wait until you decide you can no longer endure the ache. But if your pain is so severe that it limits your activities, your muscles and bones may weaken. This can make surgery and recovery more difficult later on.
It’s important to know that Sharp HealthCare performs more knee surgeries than any other hospital system in San Diego. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons are leading experts in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of arthritic and musculoskeletal conditions, providing comprehensive medical and surgical treatments.
Find a San Diego Orthopedic Surgeon
To find a surgeon who specializes in knee surgery or to schedule a consultation, send us an email, search for San Diego orthopedic surgeons or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm.