Orthopedics

Current Surgical Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis

German doctors are famous and well known in orthopedic treatments and orthopedic surgery. But an orthopedic treatment doesn’t just mean surgery. Just in more advanced changes of the Knee-joint the joint replacement is the common treatment. Osteoarthritis is the condition when the cartilage between the bones of a joint wears away. In this case the bone rubs more closely against one another and the shock-absorbing function is gone as well. This rubbing lasts in pain, sometimes swelling and stiffness of the joint. Very common is also a decreased ability to move. In a more advanced case of osteoarthritis these changes last in a deformation of the bones in this joint.   

Osteoarthritis of the knee is mostly common in older patients, but it can also occur in younger patients. Females are more likely to suffer from this disease. Risk factors beside age and gender is also the weight of the patient, repetitive stress injuries e.g. long kneeling or heavy squatting,  traumas e.g. accidents with fractures in the femoral head or other illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis e.g. 

The symptoms are very different and might range from the described swelling, pain and stiffness of the knee to a decreased mobility and an inability to climb stairs or a creaking sound inside the knee when walking around. 

The diagnosis of a knee osteoarthritis starts with a exact physical examination of the patient and also includes a clear medical history of your symptoms. This also includes the question what reliefs or worsens the pain. To take a closer look at the bones a x-ray is very helpful. As described in more advanced stages of the disease changes of the bones might be visible. In some cases it is also likely that your doctors organizes an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, as this sometimes helps to find other typs of injuries in your joint the could cause similar symptoms. Blood examinations help to find systemical reasons for osteoarthritis e.g. rheumatoid arthritis which is caused by a disorder in the immune system.  

The primary goal of all the different treatment of osteoarthritis is to relief the pain and to return your mobility. The treatment plan includes a combination of different things. Weigth loss might help, but also some exercises to stretch the musculs or strengthen them might help. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen sometimes help to reduce the symptoms. Depending on the different stage of your disease injections of hyaluronic acid into the knee might help as more lubricating fluid is present in the joint. More and more different therapies like acupuncture or supplements are on the market as well an studies sometimes proofed their oucome. Just in case all the other therapies don’t work out, surgery is a good option. 

The range of surgical treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee is wide. Depending on the diagnosis the treatment could be done via a arthroscopy, osteotomy or a joint replacement. Arthroscopy normally is performed to remove damaged cartilage or loose particles, to clean the surface and repair other types of tissue if those are damaged. This procedure is often used to treat younger patients in order to delay more serious surgery. The osteotomy aims to change and improve the alignment of the knee joint. In this procedures the shape of the bones is changed. This type of surgery is recommended if the patient has a bone damage primarily in one area of the knee. It is important to know that an osteotomy is not a permanent treatment, further surgery is needed. 

The join replacement, is a surgical procedure in which joints are replaced with artificial parts made from metals and plastic. The replacement could involve one side of the knee or the entire knee. The surgery may need to be repeated later if the joint wears out again after several years, but with today's modern advancements most new joints will last over 20 years. The surgery has risks, but the results are generally very good.