Operations for Knee Arthritis

Knee arthritis is a potentially devastating condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. Osteoarthritis (degeneration of joint cartilage and underlying bone) usually affects middle-aged and elderly people, but post-traumatic arthritis can happen to anyone who has suffered a knee injury. In general, knee arthritis involves the breakdown or degeneration of the joint lining (articular cartilage) on the ends of the bones in the knee joint and may also involve loss of the normal amount of space between these bones.

Conservative treatment is usually attempted first in order to avoid surgery and there are many exercises, special diets, and medications (pills and injections) that are typically prescribed for osteoarthritis and post-traumatic arthritis. Unfortunately, these conservative methods do not always work to resolve pain, swelling, and limitations with sports or daily activities and surgery becomes necessary. This is especially true for patients who have lost a great deal of joint lining. There are no magical medications, diets, or cures to stimulate growth of normal cartilage in the knee joint. Cartilage does not have the ability to heal or repair itself and, once injured, the process of deterioration will gradually continue.

Currently, few eBooks exist that provide detailed information on the different operations that are recommended by physicians and surgeons for knee arthritis for patients of all ages. After treating patients for nearly 4 decades with this problem, we decided to write this eBook to try to help individuals understand the different operations that are currently used after conservative treatment has failed, and what to realistically expect as a result of these operations. While most people think of total knee replacement as the operation used for knee arthritis, there are in fact many other options. This is because the amount of arthritis may be mild, moderate, or severe and may involve one portion of the knee joint or several areas. These operations include arthroscopic debridement, microfracture/abrasion, osteochondral autograft transfer, autologous chondrocyte implantation, osteochondral allograft, high tibial osteotomy, femoral osteotomy, meniscus transplantation, unicompartment (partial) knee replacement, and total knee replacement. Patients who sustained knee injuries may also require other operative procedures done at the same time, such as a knee ligament reconstruction or patellar realignment.

This eBook provides information on basic knee anatomy, how arthritis is diagnosed and measured in the knee, the factors that go into deciding whether or not to have surgery, what types of operations are available and what to expect from these procedures, and physical therapy that is required after surgery. In addition, exercises to do at home and in a fitness club are described in detail.

About Sue Barber-Westin

Sue Barber-Westin has been a member of the Cincinnati Sportsmedicine Research and Education Foundation staff since its establishment in 1985 and serves as Director of Clinical and Applied Studies. She has co-authored over 120 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals and textbooks, focusingon the clinical outcome of various knee operative procedures and on neuromuscular indices in young athletes. Sue is the associate editor, along with editor Dr. Frank Noyes of the orthopaedic textbook, “Noyes Knee Disorders: Surgery, Rehabilitation, Clinical Outcomes” published in 2009. In 2004, Sue and Dr. Noyes were members of the research team that won the Clinical Research Award from the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation, the highest clinical research honor bestowed annually in orthopaedics.