Osteoarthritis: Do I need a Knee Replacement?

May 5, 2022

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most rapidly growing causes of disability globally. In India, four out of ten senior citizens suffer from knee pain and stiffness on a daily basis. A growing trend to work from home due to the ongoing pandemic has forced the youth to experience knee symptoms as well. Lack of exercise and increasing obesity have become contributing factors to this problem. Neglected injuries, overuse and altered lifestyle with bad posture habits are the major causes of arthritis in the younger population.

Treatment of arthritis has had vast developments in the last decade. On one side are technical developments in surgery and medicines. However, people still have apprehensions about accepting surgery or allopathic treatments. Commercial advertisements for modern as well as traditional alternative treatments are rampant. The need of the hour hence is to have specialist centres that put the patients’ interests at the core and are passionate about solving the problem at the root by integrating the best treatments from different fields. Such ‘comprehensive’ care is possible by a dedicated team. There are now various alternatives to avoiding joint replacement surgery by preserving the natural joint too. Using modern technology in combination with a thorough clinical assessment, we are now capable of objectively predicting subtle arthritic changes. Observing the body balance and walking pattern during daily routines gives clues to correcting posture and engaging in regular exercise, such that arthritis can be completely reversed at the early stage. Injuries often lead to ligament as well as shock-absorbing meniscus tears. Reconstruction of ligaments or repair shock absorbing meniscus can now be done by minimally invasive or keyhole surgeries to rectify this problem. Recent statistics show that routine MRIs miss two thirds of joint surface damage caused by trauma. This can lead to early arthritis if not treated at correct time. Stem cell injections and cartilage regeneration are now available as solutions to this problem. 100% of our patients gets up and walk on the same day of surgery. Athletes following key hole surgery learn to climb stairs and return home within 2 days, they return to work in about 10 days. In last four years 90-95% of our patients have returned to their respective sports and went on to win medals nationally as well as internationally.

Arthritis in young population can be quite disabling. Osteoarthritis of the weight-bearing compartments of the joint can be slowed down by realigning the bones. This procedure helps to reduce excessive load on the joint. Partial joint replacements can prevent the progression of arthritis and the need of bigger surgery. All of these alternatives put off total knee replacements until after retirement, making it truly an end-stage procedure.

Knee replacement is the ideal treatment for people suffering from end-stage arthritis and severely disabled in their daily activities. For senior citizens to live independently and enjoy a high quality of life, this elective surgery is recommended. Sixty-five to seventy-two years is the average age for knee replacements. In terms of quality of life, total knee replacements rank third out of all surgeries in the world. This surgery is hardly scary with proper techniques and correct care.100% of patients are now able to walk the same day as their surgery at our specialist centre as we practice the world’s best standard techniques of ‘enhanced recovery’ that also negates complications. More than 95% of patients have managed to negotiate stair climbing within 3-4 days’ hospital stay. The majority of the patients following knee replacement have managed to kneel down in 2- 3 months and sit cross-legged within 4-5 months. A major portion of active patients comfortably walks up to 3-4 kilometers within six months post-surgery. The above results are not dependent on the amount spent on imported implants as is commonly misunderstood, but on a combined team approach of carrying out treatment systematically.

‘Comprehensive hip & knee care: preservation to replacement’ is a leading-edge treatment centre established in 2014 under the leadership of Dr Yogeesh D Kamat at KMC Hospital, Dr B R Ambedkar Circle, Mangaluru. A dedicated team working tirelessly in streamlining all the procedures and making them successful. Over a period of time, it has become a major treatment centre that has been able to prevent unnecessary surgery and preserve the natural joint in about three-fourths of the cases of knee pain. We are the only centre in India that provides transparent performance indicators comparable to the best centres in the world.

Our motto, therefore, is to educate about the problem, make the patient choose the right treatment that is ‘quality care of the knee to live life pain-free.’




By Dr Yogeesh D Kamat
Dr Yogeesh D Kamat is consultant - Orthopaedics, Hip & Knee Joint Replacement Surgeon, Sports Injury KMC Hospital.
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