In the United States alone, there are hundreds of thousands of total knee replacement operations performed each year. Not only are more people getting an artificial knee implanted, more people who are younger are having the surgery than ever before.
Most people are having surgery due to chronic arthritis in which the pain gets so bad that the patient can no longer stand it and opts to have an elective total knee replacement procedure. Arthritis can cause formations around the knee joint that cause pain when the ball and socket interact with each other. The spurs can also chip away at the ball and socket joint to the point where this becomes excruciating. Traditionally, patients would wait until they were much older and could no longer walk without substantial pain before having surgery.
These days, people are more into running and other types of exercise than in years past, and they are getting arthritis at an earlier age, or at least becoming aware of the pain at an earlier age. The arthritis is not preventing them from being able to walk, but rather preventing them from being able to run. For this reason, some surgeons are recommending these patients have an artificial knee replacement surgery. The reason this was not traditionally done was because artificial knee replacement devices were not rated for running. They were rated for walking.
However, some device manufacturers claimed their products would allow patients to lead a more active lifestyle, and this caused younger people to want to have a new knee. However, no matter how competent a surgeon may be, there will most likely be problems if the artificial knee was defectively designed or the company failed to adequately warn patients of known dangers associated with their medical devices.
There are, however, other options besides having a total knee replacement procedure, as discussed in a recent news article in the Courier-Journal. Some of the more conservative treatment options include over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol for pain and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen or naproxen. While these over-the-counter medications can work, they can create serious problems if they are taken for a long period of time. Some patients will have serious stomach disorders, including ulcers and internal bleeding.
Another option that is more invasive than over-the-counter painkillers, but much less invasive than a total knee replacement surgery, is the use of injectable medications. Cortisone could be injected into the joint. and this will lubricate the area and control the pain for around a month. If that is successful, there are larger doses that can be administered that may last up to three months. Again, there can be side effects to taking too much cortisone or taking it for too long, as it can develop crystals in the joint that are painful and must be surgically removed. This occurs a lot with baseball players who are given cortisone injections so they can play through injuries, even though it may not be the best thing for their overall health.
Call the Boston Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers for a free and confidential appointment — (617) 777-7777.
Booming | Knee replacement surgery alternatives, November 14, 2015, The Courier Journal, by Anita Curpier
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