The knee joint is the largest joint in the human body. One can painlessly walk, turn, and perform many other actions with healthy knees. But with time, age and changing lifestyle, people tend to suffer from severe, chronic knee pain. They may have to choose between arthroscopic surgery and knee replacement once conservative therapy options are no longer effective. Before making a choice, one should be aware of the differences between TKR and arthroscopic surgery. So, it becomes necessary to understand both procedures by understanding the following:
- What is arthroscopy and knee replacement?
- Are arthroscopy and TKR surgery different?
- Why are they needed?
- How is arthroscopy and knee replacement done?
- Is it even worth it?
What is Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that orthopaedic surgeons use to see, diagnose and treat any disorders inside a joint.
What is Total Knee Replacement Surgery?
Knee joint replacement or arthroplasty is a surgery to replace a knee joint with an artificial joint known as a prosthesis.
Difference between arthroscopy and total knee replacement surgery:
|Total Knee Replacement Surgery
|Typical Age group
|50-70 years and above
|Minimally invasive surgery
|Preserves your natural knee joint
|Artificial joint is inserted
|Problems related to knee cap or meniscusTorn ligamentsDamaged or torn cartilageRemoving pieces of bones or cartilage that might be hindering the movement of the knee jointSynovial fluids getting accumulated in a particular region
|OsteoarthritisRheumatoid arthritisBowlegsReduced knee movement
|Small incisions in the skin through which a small camera and other specialised instruments are inserted in the joint
|Bigger incision (around 4-6 inches in length)
|Blood loss and scarring
|Recovery may take weeks or even months
|Excessive or uncontrollable blood loss Infection around the incisionsBlood clots inside the jointInternal bleeding.Knee stiffnessDamage inflicted to the nerves, meniscus cartilage, ligament present in the knee joint
|Persistent pain and stiffness, Infection, Bleeding or drainage and Swelling at the surgical siteChest pain or Shortness of breathLoosening of the prostheticsFracturesBlood clots in your lungs or legs
What is done in arthroscopy surgery:
During Knee arthroscopy, an orthopaedic surgeon:
- The treatment region is cut with two or three tiny incisions through which the arthroscope and other tiny surgical instruments are inserted into the small incisions.
- In order to examine joints, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons, as well as to make a diagnosis and perform surgical treatment, images that are sent from the arthroscope to a monitor are seen.
- Then the arthroscope and surgical instruments are removed.
- Stitches and a bandage is used to close the incision.
What is done in TKR surgery:
The knee joint is replaced on both sides in a total knee replacement while only on one side in partial knee replacement. The procedure for total knee replacement may take up to 1 to 3 hours:
To perform TKR surgery, your surgeon will:
- Make an incision down the front of your knee and then to the side to have a clear vision of the knee.
- Remove the damaged part from your shin and thigh bones.
- Measure the ends of your bones to place a prosthesis. A prosthesis is made from metal and plastic. It comprises three bone components called the tibial, femoral, and patellar (kneecap) components. These components help to resurface your knee so that you can move normally.
- Clean both the ends of the bone and place an artificial knee prosthesis made from metal. The prosthesis is usually fixed by cement. This helps your bone to fuse with the prosthesis.
- Insert a piece of plastic to keep a smooth surface between the metal implants.
- Close the incisions (cuts) with surgical staples or stitches.
- Place a drain on your knee to remove the fluid.
- Apply a sterile dressing on your surgical site.
Before getting TKR surgery, arthroscopic surgery is the choice of surgery whenever conservative measures to address knee discomfort have failed. Compared to knee replacement surgery, arthroscopic surgery is less invasive and requires a far shorter recovery period. The range of motion of a natural knee joint is often greater than that of an artificial knee joint. Therefore, arthroscopic surgery is frequently preferred over TKR surgery by those who want to keep their complete range of motion at the knee.
After one or even more arthroscopic procedures, TKR surgery is always an option. Therefore, in such cases arthroscopic surgery can be used to correct the issue if people do not want to commit to a TKR surgery.
However, arthroscopic surgery might not always be a viable surgical option. The condition in the knee joint can have advanced to the point that arthroscopic surgery is ineffective in treating it. Patients in these situations choose knee replacement surgery over arthroscopy to be relieved of joint pain and live a healthier, pain-free life.
Talk to the medical professionals at HexaHealth to discuss your options and choose the best procedure according to your medical history. HexaHealth supports you in making the selection that is best for you and provides a hassle-free experience.