There are several different treatment options for knee arthritis. Each patient is unique and some will respond to certain treatments better than others. It is usually best to begin with the most conservative treatments.
If conservative treatments for arthritis pain stop being effective and simple activities such as walking or climbing stairs become difficult or impossible, total knee replacement may be an option. In this procedure, the cartilage and bone surface is removed and resurfaced with a metal and plastic implant.
New minimally invasive and smaller incision surgical techniques are being used for total joint replacement. Because less tissue is cut, these techniques may allow for quicker, less painful recovery and a more rapid return to activities.
Computer-assisted surgery is the newest generation of technology available in joint replacement. With the aid of a highly precise computer-imaging system, the surgeon creates a visual map of the knee that allows his to see beyond what is possible with the naked eye. Every aspect of the operation is tracked by computer including the surgical instrumentation and the positioning of the implant, enabling the surgeon to achieve extremely accurate implant alignment.
Traditional open surgery for total joint replacement used to involve a 6- to 10-inch incision. Minimally invasive, or minimal incision surgery (MIS) is often much smaller.