Categories: Orthopaedics

Risks of not having a timely Knee Replacement

Suffering from Osteoarthritis and questions coming across are countless, one of them is what if I don’t have a knee replacement surgery. You must have been through with the success rate data and testimonials claiming a better life, but when the monetary bit comes in, you are back to the previous question. Let us look at a finer picture of what happens when surgery is delayed.

  1. Worsening of Knee Deformity:
  • In the case of osteoarthritis, the knee joint gets inflamed producing joint fluid. The protective cushioning at the bone ends gets eroded enhancing the inflammation process further. A lot of metabolites of the degenerative process start accumulating at joint space. The space between the bone ends keeps decreasing due to the thinning of protective cushions resulting in joint deformity. It mostly presents in the form of bowing of legs which shows in your gait making walking difficult.
  • It may also affect your leg length making surgery extremely difficult.
  • Post deformity, it may be required to put a specialized implant that is difficult to find and tricky to surgically place. If at all, the surgery becomes hugely complicated and more time-consuming.
  • More time spent under anesthesia has its own series of extensive impediments.
  1. Exceeding Joint Stiffness
  • With the existing pain and inflammation, the joint is not moved.
  • As a result of lack of movement, the joint capsule, muscles, the ligament is atrophied and contracted. This makes joint stiff.
  • Stiffness of joint before surgery may affect the mobility adversely post-surgically.
  1. Losing muscle strength
  • Due to pain, the movement becomes restricted.
  • Restricted movement affects muscle strength poorly.
  • They also become atrophied and thin losing their tensile strength and becoming lax.
  • The chances of regaining strength in such muscles even after surgery are a really difficult task.
  1. Compensatory Problems
  • As a result of all the above reasons, a person tends to take the otherwise well-distributed body weight on pain-free.
  • This may produce abnormal posture patterns generating numerous other issues like:
  1. Backache
  2. Pain in the non-osteoarthritic knee
  3. Sometimes shoulder pain
  • Later, such problems can become permanent and require treatment of other problems post-surgery.
  1. Ageing
  • You continue to age and by the time you are ready for surgery, you may not be eligible anymore
  • Similarly, your general health can as well betray you because of less physical activity in terms of
  1. weight gain
  2. decreased endurance
  3. cardiac conditions like high blood pressure
  4. pulmonary issues
  • These are all concerns for people who delayed joint replacement far too long and now not even the Orthopaedician can help you.
  1. Quality-Adjusted Life
  • Difficulty carrying out daily activities
  • Dependence on another person
  • Lifelessness

Having gone through the entire channel of precise information about the risks of postponing the replacement surgery, it’s time to make an informed decision. Find a hospital, may not be a big or a famous one, talk to the surgeon. Feel free to ask as many questions as you need. Don’t forget to look into hospital numbers for the same surgery. Today, you have the power to choose. Choose wisely! Delaying the surgery unnecessarily is just not an option, as you may not be left with an option at all when it’s too late.

Dr. Rajesh Verma, Director & Senior Consultant – Orthopaedics, Spine SurgeryDharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi & Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram

Narayana Health

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