Knee joint pain is related to deteriorating of knee cartilage called meniscus that functions as a shock absorber that has lost its function due to excessive weight being put on the joint. When knee cartilage broke down, all the sufferer feels is pain from the knee and downwards. Walking will feel like a total huge challenge, bending it would be a death wish.
Orthopedic surgeons highly recommend following a non-surgical treatment beforehand. If despite doing so still failing, then only will the experts suggest surgical knee cap replacement. For knee replacement surgery, we must know there are various knee parts and materials we can choose from, different types of implants and the reasons why only certain types match certain patients.
What types of materials are available?
Artificial knees are made of alloys of cobalt-chromium and titanium. No allergic reaction has been heard of over the decades of its usage. The knee implant can be designed with ceramic parts although it’s low in wear rate compared to metals due to FDA that hasn’t approved them for general use. Cemented model with external ligaments support is recommended for patients with weak and osteoporotic bone. While for healthy young people with physically demanding job, the ideal model is an uncemented knee design that allows bone preservation. Each of the material has its pro and cons and this can be discussed in detail with the doctors.
What types of implants?
There are more than 150 designs of knee implants up for demands on the market today. One of them is Posterior-Stabilized Designs where it substitutes cruciate ligaments part. PCL prevents thighbone from sliding forward too far on the shinbone when bending knee. Bruciate-Retaining Designs keeps both anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments and it’s new to the market. Another is unicompartmental implants. It is for partial knee replacement where only one side of knee joint is damaged. It’s used to resurface the other side. Tibial components consist of implants; fixed-bearing implants, and mobile-bearing implants. It differs in durability. Fixed mobile-bearing prosthesis wears down more quickly which causes more pain for the bones. Younger and overweight patients are suggested to go with mobile-bearing knee replacement which endures longer performance with less wear. Mobile bearing implants need support from soft tissues; ligaments around the knee or else it will easily be dislocated. Cost wise, mobile bearing implant costs more than fixed bearing implants.
Why doctors choose certain types over others?
Orthopedic doctors choose certain types of materials and implants due to long term results. They choose certain types due to durability and record of use of more than 5 years. Next, it’s because the surgeons are used to implanting those certain types for many times. Hence their expertise is in this implant type only. Lastly, surgeons choose certain types of knee replacement due to a patient’s condition, and this is one the major factors that will be considered.
Lastly, as consumers, we have every right to know the details of what we’re signing up for. As it will affect our daily living, therefore extreme precaution is needed. We need to know what knee replacement offers to us before making the decision.