Are you bothered by knee pain, and is it getting worse? Your knees are the largest joints in your body and if they’ve been bothering you, you already realize how important they are to your health and wellbeing. If you’ve gotten to the point where the pain is starting to affect your quality of life, then it’s time for you to seek the advice of an orthopedic surgeon who can evaluate the cause of your pain and offer valuable solutions. While there are many reasons that your joints may hurt, the most common cause of knee pain is osteoarthritis. In fact, over 54 million Americans suffer from this disease. However, the good news is that you do not need to live in pain, because the options available to you and your orthopedic surgeon are getting better every day. While early arthritis can often be treated with exercise, physical therapy, lifestyle improvements and over the counter medications, more advanced illness may require surgery. But don’t fret, because the future of knee replacement surgery has already begun, and that future looks bright. If you haven’t heard of MAKOplasty robotically assisted knee surgery yet and you are bothered by osteoarthritis of your knees, then read ahead, because this information will go a long way to increase your knowledge and ease your worries.
Overview of Knee Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis, is caused by the stress we put on our joints over a lifetime of activities and/or injuries. Repetitive movements, high impact activities, and excess weight are all factors that can eventually create damage, especially on our weight-bearing joints like our knees. Your knee joint is made up of your large thigh bone, your lower leg bone, your kneecap, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and synovial fluid. All of these components are what create your knee joint’s ability to bend and move freely. However, over time, breakdown in cartilage and loss of natural fluid causes the space in the joint to narrow and the bones to become damaged. This all ultimately results in pain with movement and limits to mobility. However, with advances in medical technology and the right orthopedic surgeon, pain does not have to define your life. If supportive measures are now failing to give you relief from pain, your doctor may be recommending a partial or total knee replacement. You’ll be happy to know that innovations in technology are allowing surgeons to replace the damaged parts of knee joints while minimizing pain and complications.
What is MAKOplasty?
As the name implies, knee replacement surgery is when an orthopedic surgeon removes damaged bone and tissue from an arthritic knee and replaces these parts with plastic and metal materials, like putting a crown on a tooth. In the age of robotics, incisions and collateral damage around the knee are minimized. MAKOplasty technology can allow orthopedic surgeons to have a much more accurate account of the damage to your knee before you go into surgery, and then it helps guide the procedure so that the repairs accurately reflect exactly what your knee needs. It combines CT-scan images (which are multiple images at different angles of your joint) with software that provides a three-dimensional model of your knee. Once in the operating room, your orthopedic surgeon will use the robotic-arm to mark the areas of your knee so that new information can update what was found on your CT-scan. This along with video surveillance during the procedure helps your surgeon be more precise as he removes the damaged area of the joint and then adds either a completely new joint (total knee replacement) or just the parts that need to be replaced (partial knee replacement). The result is a new, more natural feeling and pain-free knee joint after combining this high tech procedure with appropriate post-operative physical therapy.
The potential benefits of a MAKOplasty partial or full knee replacement are many, as this technology can result in more accuracy, better safety, reduced risk, and a more natural feeling joint. Smaller incisions, a shorter hospital stay, and a quicker, less painful recovery are also possible.
If you are bothered by knee pain or think you may need knee replacement surgery, your next step should be to seek the expert advice of a board-certified orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh, Durham, Apex, and throughout the Triangle. Please contact our friendly team today at the offices of Dr. Brett Gilbert by calling us at (919) 788-8797 or request an appointment online. We welcome the opportunity to help you achieve a pain-free life once again.