Why you should consider a full knee replacement instead of a partial one?
So before you make the decision between a partial and full knee replacement, you should know whether you’re even a good candidate for this type of surgery in the first place.
Take our free knee function assessment to find out or keep reading to uncover a few facts that may give you a better clue.
Do You Need a Knee Replacement At All?
So how can you tell if you need a knee replacement?
Answer these questions and you’ll have a pretty good idea of which direction to move in.
#1: How long has your knee pain persisted? If your knee pain has been around for 3 months or more and you’re having trouble completing your daily activities, it may be time for a knee replacement.
So if walking short distances, shopping, getting in and out of the car, going up and down stairs, and your favorite recreational activities (like golf, biking, bowling, and hiking) are becoming harder to do, keep reading to see why a full knee replacement is better than a partial knee replacement for you.
If you’re able to walk a mile or two a day, and your pain has only been lingering for about a month, you’re not an ideal candidate for a knee replacement yet.
This next question can also help narrow down your options.
#2: Do anti-inflammatory medications alleviate your knee pain? If the answer is yes, then you don’t need a knee replacement.
But if you’re still in pain despite taking these medications, the problem could be more serious and may require surgery.
#3: Have you tried to find relief by losing weight or exercising more? If you’ve recently lost weight or bumped up your exercise regimen in an effort to alleviate your knee pain — but it hasn’t helped — take it as a sign that a knee replacement might be in your near future.
Another common red flag that your knee pain should not be taken lightly is if you’ve given up your daily activities because of it.
Your chronic knee pain shouldn’t limit you to the point that you can’t do routine, everyday activities. And if you’re stuck at this point, it’s time to consider undergoing a knee replacement so you can restore your mobility and get your quality of life back.
In this next section, we’ll help you narrow down whether you might need a full or partial knee replacement.
Why is a Full Knee Replacement Better than a Partial Knee Replacement?
The Oxford Knee Score, which you have already taken, is a measure of your level of pain and function. You answered 12 questions with the best answer for each being 4 points. Your score would be 48 if your knee was normal, and it would be the best score.
The average Oxford Knee Score for patients with arthritis in one-third of the knee treated with a partial knee replacement is 25 before surgery. After partial knee replacement the score only improves 15-16 points to an average of 40-41 at 1, 3 and 5-years after surgery out of a best score of 48.
The average Oxford Knee Score for patients with arthritis in one-third or more of the knee treated with a kinematically aligned total knee replacement is 20 before surgery. After kinematically aligned total knee replacement the score improves 22-23 points to an average of 42-43 at 6-months, 1, 3, 6, and 10-year after out of a best score of 48.
Because the Oxford Knee Score after surgery is HIGHER and closer to normal for kinematically aligned total knee replacement than partial knee replacement, because the hospital stay and recovery for kinematically aligned total knee replacement than partial knee replacement are the SAME, and because the risk of another operation is LOWER for kinematically aligned total knee replacement than partial knee replacement, total knee replacement is the best treatment for arthritis of the knee.
Another thing to take into account here is whether you’re suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis.
We’ll touch on these more next.
Here’s How Rheumatoid Arthritis & Osteoarthritis Affects Your Decision
Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect multiple joints, including your knee. As it progresses and is left untreated, RA can lead to joint pain, swelling, and stiffness that could cause you to lose mobility in your knee(s).
When this happens, a total knee replacement is in your best interest.
Osteoarthritis can also negatively affect your knee and cause pain.
Just like with RA, you may experience pain and joint stiffness in the early stages.
This time, physical activity, weight management, anti-inflammatory medications, and other non-surgical treatments may alleviate the pain for you.
However, as we mentioned earlier in this article, if these aides do little to nothing to help your pain subside, you may be ready to take the next step towards replacing your knee.
Doing so will not only help to relieve your pain, it can also help restore your mobility and improve your quality of life.
Only you and your knee surgeon will ultimately know the answer, but today’s guide should give you a pretty good indication of which way to head.
To find out if full or partial knee surgery is right for you, we encourage you to reach out today.
Dr. Stephen M. Howell and his team will help you create a customized treatment plan with your specific needs and recovery time in mind.
Don’t forget to take our free knee function assessment to learn whether you’re a good candidate for total knee replacement surgery now that you know more about your options.