Patients with Chronic Knee Inflammation and Pain Can Improve Their Quality of Life

Healthy knee function goes hand-in-hand with quality of life. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), more than 600,000 total knee arthroplasties, or replacements, are performed each year in the United States for patients experiencing chronic knee pain and inflammation, and for patients who have experienced a severe knee injury.

Most chronic knee pain and inflammation is caused by arthritis in the joint. While there are several types of arthritis that can be found throughout the body, the most common types that cause knee pain and inflammation include:

  • Osteoarthritis: An age-related arthritis that is most common in patients over 50
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: An inflammatory arthritis that damages knee cartilage
  • Post-traumatic arthritis: Arthritis that follows a serious knee injury

Patients who think they are a candidate for total knee arthroplasty should consult with an orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon will focus on the patient’s level of pain and disability when determining if total knee arthroplasty is the best treatment option. According to the AAOS, patients who experience the following usually find total knee arthroplasty the most beneficial:

  • Severe pain and stiffness in the knees that limits everyday activity
  • Knee pain while resting
  • Inflammation or swelling in the knee that doesn’t get better with rest or medication
  • Bowing of the knee or other deformities
  • Symptoms that do not get better with other treatments

To determine if surgery is the patients’ best treatment option, an orthopedic evaluation will be conducted by the surgeon. The evaluation will consist of an overview of the patient’s general medical history, a physical examination to assess knee movement and alignment, x-rays of the knee joint and other tests. Other tests can include blood tests or advanced imaging, including an MRI, of the knee.

While the pain caused by chronic knee inflammation and knee injuries can oftentimes seem unbearable, the advanced surgical technology at Fresno Central Hospital can effectively relieve patients’ pain and help improve their quality of life.

Orthopaedic Surgeons at Fresno Surgical Hospital perform total knee arthroplasty surgery frequently and are trusted in the Central Valley to deliver quality care before, during and after the procedure.

The AAOS outlines the steps to a total knee arthroplasty, which typically takes a total of one to two hours, as follows:

  • Prepare the bone: Surgeons remove damaged pieces of cartilage from the bone
  • Position metal implants: Metal components replace the damaged cartilage that “recreate the surface of the joint.” The metal piece is affixed to the bone using cement or the “press-fit” method.
    • The press-fit method takes advantage of the bone’s natural tendency to grow into microscopic pores on the implant’s roughened metal surface. It is the more permanent total knee arthroplasty solution.
  • Resurface the kneecap: Surgeons oftentimes resurface the bottom of the kneecap with a plastic button. However, this is not necessary for every procedure.
  • Insert a spacer: Surgeons insert a medical-grade plastic spacer to give the metal components a smooth gliding surface.

Surgeons utilize regional or general anesthesia to minimize pain and ensure patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty remain comfortable and still throughout the procedure. In addition to anesthesia, surgeons also administer antibiotics and anticoagulant drugs to prevent infection and avoid post-surgical complications.

“Patients who undergo total knee arthroplasty at Fresno Surgical Hospital can expect the highest-quality of care and an optimal patient experience,” says Dr. Matt Knedel. “We take measures on the front end to greatly reduce the possibility of complications after surgery. We’re also committed to educating our patients on post-operative home care to ensure the procedure greatly enhances their quality of life for years to come.”

Patients should expect to stay in the hospital for a few days following the procedure. Physical therapy is also required after the surgery. This helps patients regain full use of their knee, and helps them heal more quickly.  FSH has several Board-certified orthopedic surgeons on its staff.

Fresno Surgical Hospital, an award-winning physician-owned hospital, is the only local hospital to earn a Five-Star Rating for patient satisfaction as reported on Medicare.gov’s Hospital Compare site. Learn more about orthopedic surgical procedures at www.FresnoSurgicalHospital.com.