- Do you have to wait for total knee replacement?
- How do you know if it’s time for knee replacement?
- How to choose the best doctor for knee replacement?
- What are the benefits of knee replacement surgery?
For people with mobility issues caused by knee pain, total knee replacements are often essential to help them get fit and improve their overall health with a regular exercise routine. Gina M. can attest to that. By the time she made it to 40, her left knee was so painful she could barely walk, let alone exercise. After knee replacement surgery with Travis Clegg, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive hip and knee replacement, she enthuses, “I’m so much stronger now and in the best shape of my life in my 40s than I was even in my teens.” Here’s how having total knee replacement helped one patient reduce her pain, get fit, and get her life back on track.
Do You Have to Wait for Total Knee Replacement?
As Gina discovered, you don’t necessarily have to wait until you’re 50 to have total knee replacement surgery. In fact, one study at Northwestern University found that 90% of patients who would benefit from knee replacement waiting too long to have it. In many cases, people are suffering needlessly for years when they don’t have to.
The artificial joints used in traditional knee replacement surgery last an average of 10 to 20-years. However, Dr. Clegg worked with orthopedic implant scientists to develop a state of the art knee replacement that will last longer than traditional implants and feel more like your normal knee. The shape of the newly designed implant better matches the patient’s normal anatomy and function and is expected to last up to 30 years or more.
In Gina’s case, she was at her wit’s end. Her left knee pain had decreased her mobility, leaving her in pain and frustrated. Gina sought the advice of Dr. Clegg. The consultation led to Gina’s minimally invasive total knee replacement surgery to replace the worn-out joint that was causing her debilitating pain. Her surgery was very successful for eliminating pain and improving Gina’s mobility.
Dr. Clegg weighed in on the aftereffects of Gina’s surgery, stating, “It’s really been a success for her. She was able to get back to the gym. I think it helped her mood, it helped her professionally.”
How Do You Know if It’s Time for Knee Replacement?
Severe and debilitating pain is often a sign that it is time for knee replacement. Gina suffered for two years before finally pursuing treatment. She stated, “My pain was very severe. I couldn’t get out and enjoy life whenever we would go out and do anything that entailed walking.”
When people wait too long for knee replacement, osteoarthritis often deteriorates the functioning of the joint. This causes joint pain and stiffness that hampers mobility. When you can’t exercise, the rest of your health starts to deteriorate. The lack of mobility and exercise causes a ripple effect in the body, causing cardiovascular issues, weight gain, and even depression.
Healthgrades suggests there are important signs that signal it is time for total knee replacement:
- Medications no longer help control the pain
- Less invasive treatments like cortisone injections or physical therapy no longer help
- There is pain with everyday tasks like walking or climbing stairs
- You need a walker or a cane to move around
- Your pain is severe, even while sleeping
- The knee is deforming or bowing from the arthritis
Gina experienced these difficult symptoms for years, stating, “Before I had the surgery, I told Dr. Clegg that I couldn’t even walk for exercise.” All of that changed after minimally invasive total knee replacement surgery with Dr. Clegg. Gina continued, “The biggest benefit of the surgery with Dr. Clegg was that I could sleep during the night without pain and also start exercising.”
How to Choose the Best Doctor for Knee Replacement?
If you have insurance, start by finding which providers are covered under your plan. Review their credentials and the number of years they’ve been in practice. Then look for a surgeon that is board-certified with a history of successful knee replacement procedures. Board-certification by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery means that your doctor has:
- Four years of pre-med undergraduate study
- Four years of medical school leading to an MD license
- Five years of residency
- Board-certification by written and oral examination
Also research patient reviews on sites like Healthgrades, Vitals, and WebMD Care.
Trust is also a big issue when choosing your knee replacement doctor. In Gina’s case, she had a referral from someone she trusted implicitly—her mom. She said, “My mom had knee replacement with Dr. Clegg the year before and she really liked him and trusted him.”
What Are the Benefits of Knee Replacement Surgery?
Gina is a great example of how knee replacement surgery can help people stay healthy and fit, no matter what their age. Dr. Clegg reports that Gina is doing much more now than before the surgery. “She’s doing things that a lot of people would say you can’t do with knee replacement.” That includes 5- and 10-k races!
Mobility is a huge benefit for most patients who undergo knee replacement surgery, along with a reduction in chronic, painful knee joints. Today’s modern knee surgeries are much less invasive and most are done as outpatient procedures, meaning you go home the same day.
In Gina’s case, she became much more athletic after the surgery. She reports, “I’ve actually started running! I do crossfit. I could do none of those things before. Gina even completed two half marathons—and she’s just getting started.
Gina says she is so glad she chose Dr. Clegg, and didn’t wait any longer to have what, for her, was a life-changing surgery. She points out, “The biggest benefit was being able to exercise for weight loss. I couldn’t even walk before, and now I can do high intensity exercise.”