Knee Pain | Orthopaedics, P.C. Spencer, Iowa
Knee Pain | Orthopaedics, P.C. Spencer, Iowa
Knee Pain | Orthopaedics, P.C. Spencer, Iowa

Knee Procedures

What is knee arthroscopy?

Recent advances in the development of surgical equipment have allowed orthopedic surgeons to treat conditions that were traditionally either ignored or treated with an open procedure. Now, with just a small incision, a surgeon can insert a pencil-sized optical device into the knee joint, which relays an image to a large video monitor in the operating room, allowing a surgeon to see into the joint and correct problems.

Step-by-step of a knee arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy, or a “knee scope,” is a minimally-invasive procedure. The use of an arthroscope means that the procedure is done using 2-3 small incisions rather than a more invasive “open” surgery that would require a much larger incision. These small incisions, or “portals,” are used to insert the surgical instruments into the joint. Occasionally, a third or fourth incision may be required depending upon the procedure.

Ligament Repair Procedures

When you tear a ligament in your knee, such as the ACL, non-surgical options may be tried first to avoid surgery. If the conservative options do not heal the tear and surgery is chosen, it is performed arthroscopically.

Surgical instruments are inserted to shave tissue, cauterize structures or remove pieces. On occasion, holes may be drilled into patches of bare bone where the cartilage has been lost. This technique, called “microfracture” or “picking,” provokes localized bleeding and encourages the formation of fibrocartilage (repair cartilage). Saline is pumped through the joint during the procedure to improve visualization and flush out debrided tissue.

In the case of an ACL repair, the surgeon will take part of the patellar tendon (connects the kneecap to the tibia) or the hamstring tendon (from the back of the thigh) from either the patient or from a cadaver. The surgeon will connect the tendon to the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone) where the ACL is supposed to go and attach it with surgical staples or screws.

Knee Replacement

Dr. Pruitt uses OrthAlign®, this technology offers precise alignment technology in a simple, palm-sized, single-use device that is compatible with all implant systems for both Total Knee and Total Hip Arthroplasty surgeries.

Deciding whether or not to get knee replacement surgery is difficult. Discussing your treatment options with your doctor is essential to helping you choose whether this is the right option for you. Learn more about knee replacement surgery to help formulate some questions to ask your doctor. Remember to write these questions down and bring them to your next appointment.

Each patient recovers differently. After surgery, you will work with a physical therapist to gradually increase your knee strength and mobility. Many people are able to go home soon after surgery. Others choose to recover at a rehabilitation center. This decision depends on the availability of family or friends to help you with daily activities, your home environment, safety considerations and your overall evaluation after surgery.

Typically, patients are able to drive again in about 4-6 weeks, so long as they can tolerate it and are not taking narcotic medications. If your job is not physically demanding, you may be able to return to work after about a month. These decisions are made in your consultation with your doctor.

Knee Pain | Orthopaedics, P.C. Spencer, Iowa
Knee Pain | Orthopaedics, P.C. Spencer, Iowa
Knee Pain | Orthopaedics, P.C. Spencer, Iowa

The Knee Replacement Procedure

The worn surfaces at the bottom of the thigh bone are removed using special instruments during knee replacement surgery and the damaged joint is resurfaced with metal and plastic implants. At first, the surgeon shapes the bone to prepare for this new covering.

The top of the shin bone (tibia) is prepared in a similar way. The worn surface is removed and a new tibial base is placed on top of the remaining bone. This tibial base holds a hard plastic spacer that will become the new shock absorber between the smooth metal coverings. The doctor may also replace the back of the kneecap with a new plastic surface. These components can be fixed to the bone by either using bone cement or a “press fit,” allowing the bone to grow into the coating on the implant. The doctor will typically decide which type of fixation to use based on numerous factors including age, activity level, bone quality and other associated medical conditions.

Near the end of the surgery, the doctor will secure the new knee. When the implant is in position and all of the supporting muscles and ligaments are working well, the doctor closes the incision with stitches or staples.

When your surgery is over, you will be taken to the recovery room. Generally, you can expect to be moved to your regular room within 1-3 hours after surgery.

The Difference Between Partial and Total Knee Replacement

The knee is divided into three areas: medial (the inside of your knee), lateral (the outside of your knee) and patella (the kneecap). In partial knee replacement surgery, the damage to the bone is isolated primarily to one of these three areas. The surgeon replaces the damaged area of the knee only, allowing patients to keep more of their natural bone, tissue and ligaments when compared to a total knee replacement. And because the surgery is less invasive, patients have the potential for a faster recovery than with a total knee replacement.

On the other hand, if the damage has affected two or more areas, a total knee replacement may be the answer.

Knee Replacement

Whether you need an arthroscopy or a total knee replacement, Dr. Pruitt has you covered.

Dr. Pruitt specializes in sports medicine, arthroscopy and joint replacement.

Let Orthopaedics, P.C. help you get on your way to a healthy recovery.

Let’s get your life back!


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