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5 Myths About Knee Replacement Surgery

5 Myths About Knee Replacement Surgery

Is knee pain hampering your lifestyle? Have you given up on fun activities because you don’t want to deal with knee pain that occurs afterwards? You may have heard of knee replacement surgery, but are not sure about whether it is suitable for you. Here are 5 myths about knee replacement that could be preventing you from enjoying life to the fullest.

Myth #1: Only those above the age of 50 should undergo knee replacement.

Fact: While age-related wear and tear of the knee does play a role, other conditions including post-traumatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and genetics also contribute to knee degeneration. Important factors that determine your candidacy for a knee replacement are the severity of your pain, the restriction of your mobility, and whether your knee condition is significantly affecting your quality of life.

Myth #2: Knee replacement surgery should be postponed as long as possible.

Fact: If you have been diagnosed with degenerative joint disease of the knee, your knee pain symptoms will only continue to worsen. Reducing your activity level due to the knee pain will cause atrophy of the muscles that support and stabilize the knee. The strength of your knee musculature is a key factor in determining how much of function you will be able to regain after you undergo the surgery. Also, it may take a while to relearn skills lost due to a longer period of inactivity. Thus, by simply delaying the inevitable knee replacement surgery, you might be doing more harm than good.

Myth #3: You must spend several weeks in the hospital following knee replacement surgery.

Fact: With the significant advances made in the field of knee replacement surgery, the procedure can be performed using minimally invasive techniques causing minimum damage to soft tissues, faster recovery, and less time off from work. Depending on your pain level, you can expect to be discharged home within 1 to 3 days.

Myth #4: Knee implants do not last more than 10 years.

Fact: The first knee replacements performed in the 1970’s lasted about 10 years. However, those implants by today’s standards were crude prosthetic devices that have very little in common with the state-of-the-art implants that are being used today. Recent studies assessing implants that had been placed 20 years ago, show them to be working in perfectly good condition. You can expect implants used today to function better and last significantly longer.

Myth #5: Knee replacement surgery will severely limit your activity level.

Fact: If you are a candidate for a same-day knee replacement surgery, you may be able to stand on the same day as the procedure. Upon full recovery with the aid of physical therapy you can expect to lead an active lifestyle and be able to walk, do low-impact activity such as hiking, swimming, stair climbing, bicycling, and most activities of daily living without pain.

With these myths regarding the knee replacement procedure, prognosis, and recovery no longer an obstacle, you are in a better position to consider this life-changing treatment.

Erik N. Zeegen, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, is one of Southern California’s leading joint replacement surgeons. His practice is focused on hip and knee replacement surgery, including revising hip and knee replacements that have failed.