What are the Different Knee Replacement Alternatives?

M.R. Anglin

When a person suffers from arthritis and the cartilage of his knee has worn away, he may start to consider undergoing total knee replacement surgery. In some cases, however, he can forgo or delay the surgery and attempt one of the different knee replacement alternatives. Some of the different knee replacement alternatives available include medicine and injections that help to reduce the pain of arthritis, arthroscopy, and knee braces. Each of these alternatives is designed to either relieve the pain or reduce the amount of pressure on damaged portions of the joint. It is important to note that these alternatives need to be discussed with a doctor so that all the risks and benefits are understood.

A person wearing a knee brace.
A person wearing a knee brace.

If a person does not wish to undergo a total knee replacement, he can try one of the different knee replacement alternatives, such as taking medication. Anti-inflammatory medicine can help to relieve the pain of arthritis. Some pain medication can be purchased over the counter. If a stronger medication is needed, a doctor may be able to prescribe it. Taking these medicines can help a person to live his life with less pain.

A knee replacement may be recommended if a patient has advanced osteoarthritis of the joint.
A knee replacement may be recommended if a patient has advanced osteoarthritis of the joint.

Steroid injections can also be given by a doctor in order to reduce pain and inflammation. In addition, injections that contain lubricants can be given to a patient in order to help increase joint movement. Often, the steroid injection is only given once every four months because the steroids lose effectiveness the more times they are given. Lubricants, however, can be given every three to five weeks. The lubricant in the injection can help to increase the elasticity of the joint, as well as help a person move the knee more than he could without the injection.

In some cases, a minimally invasive procedure can be an alternative to major knee replacement surgery.
In some cases, a minimally invasive procedure can be an alternative to major knee replacement surgery.

Minimally invasive surgeries are another alternative to knee replacement surgery. One such surgery is an arthroscopy. Arthroscopy is a surgery in which a surgeon cuts two small slits in the knee large enough to insert the necessary instruments. The surgeon then cuts away worn cartilage and other substances that can cause inflammation. While this procedure can help to reduce inflammation and pain, it is less effective for a person who has advanced arthritis.

Another of the different knee replacement alternatives is a knee brace. A knee brace helps to lessen the pressure that is exerted on the damaged part of the knee and relocate it the part that has healthy cartilage. Thus, this option is often reserved for a person who has enough healthy cartilage left for the brace to be effective. Many of the knee replacement alternatives may work for one person but may not work as effectively for another. Before making any decision, a person should speak to his doctor in order to learn the different risks and benefits to each alternative.

Knee replacement surgery can improve mobility and quality of life for many seniors.
Knee replacement surgery can improve mobility and quality of life for many seniors.

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