Should You Invest in a Knee Replacement?

Knee ReplacementKnee replacement surgery seems has become more common over the years; yet, even though the number of knee replacement surgeries in the US tripled between 1993 and 2009, such surgery still cannot be taken lightly. There are questions to consider prior to making such a serious physical and financial investment:

How long does recovery take?

Very active people may be hesitant to have knee replacement done for fear of losing the ability to engage in their favorite activities – or to even drive a car. Typically, it takes at least several weeks for patients to start to return to a “normal” life – and even then, such high-impact activities as jogging are generally best avoided after full recovery in order to avoid excess wear and tear on the new knee. A doctor will best be able to determine the patient’s level of fitness for certain tasks.

Keep in mind that the time invested in healing and physical therapy exercises will pay off huge dividends in the increased mobility, comfort and overall improved quality of life a successful knee replacement provides.

What types of replacement knees exist?

Traditional, standard size knee implants often involve removal of bone and/or tissue in order to accommodate the implant – since the anatomy of every patient varies, there is no guarantee that the closest sized implant will fit perfectly.

This is where customized implants, which involve scanning the knee and creating a model, come in. Not only does a customized knee implant help avoid the pain of an ill-fitting replacement, it also allows patients to keep more of their own bone and knee tissue. This leads to increased comfort and reduced healing time. This sort of technology comes with a higher price tag than the standard knee replacement.

How long will my new knee last?

Unfortunately, nothing made of plastic or metal lasts forever. Still, 85% of implants now last 20 years or more thanks to improvements in materials, designs and surgical techniques. Of course this time frame also depends on the sort of usage the knee has endured – high vs. low impact exercise, for example.

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