Mr Henry Bourke
97% of knee replacements are done for osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a disease that has a multi-factorial cause. This means there are many different contributing factors that cause it to affect your knees. Some of this is genetic, some of it environmental and some of it is due to previous trauma and the weight of the patient. Carrying extra weight above your normal body mass index (BMI) will lead to earlier onset of the disease.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis are mostly pain but also stiffness and giving way. The simple conservative measures for improving these symptoms are gentle regular exercise, simple painkillers and weight reduction. These three simple measures can keep the disease at bay for some years.
Arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) has largely been phased out for osteoarthritis of the knee. Although it can improve the symptoms in the short-term, there may be some damage to the knee in the longer term by having the cartilage removed surgically. The main surgical options are realignment procedures (osteotomy) which we tend to favour in younger patients with physical jobs, partial and total knee replacement.
Partial knee replacement is an option if the arthritis is just affecting one side of the knee and the other side is well preserved. Mr Kucheria and I both offer this procedure and we have also done a number of bilateral simultaneous partial knee replacements. When these other options have been exhausted, total knee replacement is indicated.
Mr Rakesh Kucheria
The alternatives to knee replacements are conservative measures such as physiotherapy, analgesics and losing weight. For the younger population, partial knee replacement can be performed as well as osteotomies.