When Should Knee Replacement Surgery Be Considered?

Conservative non-operative treatments are the first choice to manage an osteoarthritic knee condition. We have a list of the symptoms signaling that it may be time to consider surgery.

Arthritis is a disease process in which joint tissues become inflamed and the cushion of cartilage lining the ends of the bones begins to deteriorate. As the cartilage becomes thinner, the symptoms progress. The joint becomes painful to move, and the supporting muscles gradually become weaker.

A variety of conservative treatments can slow or manage the symptoms of this condition. Some patients do very well with conservative treatments, and never have to confront the possibility of surgery. For others, the disease gradually becomes less responsive to conservative treatments, and increasing joint limitations take a toll on quality of life.

There is no hard and fast rule about when it’s time to consider a knee replacement. However, it’s good to know the symptoms that indicate it may be time to sit down with your orthopedic surgeon and consider a knee replacement.

  • Nonsurgical interventions including physical therapy and medication no longer control your pain.
  • Knee pain prevents you from sleeping.
  • Activities like climbing stairs, walking, and getting in and out of chairs and bathtubs become difficult.
  • You experience aching in your knee, followed by periods of relative relief.
  • Extensive use of your knee triggers pain.
  • Your knee is stiff or swollen following periods of inactivity or rest.
  • Humid or rainy weather increases your knee pain.
  • Your mobility has decreased to the point that it is affecting your ability to perform normal activities.
  • You feel a grating sensation in your knee joint.

At Summit, we create a conservative treatment plan intended to delay knee replacement in favor of less invasive treatments for as long as function can be maintained, and pain can be controlled. However, when your pain is no longer controlled and your quality of life is affected, knee replacement surgery can provide pain relief and a return to your normal activities and quality of life.

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  • Jack Drogt, M.D.

    “As a hip and knee specialist, an orthopedic surgeon, and the President of Summit Orthopedics, I’m dedicated to providing patients with the highest level of care available. Our expertise extends beyond orthopedic care. We’re enabling people
    to live the lives they love.”

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  • Daren Wickum, M.D.

    “Quality of life really boils down to remaining active. Keeping patients mobile keeps me on my toes.
    So does keeping up with my son.”

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  • Jeffrey Furmanek, D.O.

    “My training has taught me to understand that the human body is a complex sum of its parts with an innate ability to heal. My role as an orthopedic surgeon can be an important
    part of this natural process.”

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  • Paul Yellin, M.D.

    “Not everyone is destined to be a professional athlete, but every athlete wants to feel like a pro. I’m inspired by the idea of helping my patients maintain their top level of performance.”

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  • Jonathan Biebl, M.D.

    “Whether an athlete or non-athlete — eight or eighty years old — the goal is optimal results. We take the time to listen carefully and communicate with patients about their
    diagnosis and treatment plan.”

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  • David Kittleson, M.D.

    “Participating in triathlons gives me a tangible sense what an active lifestyle can do to bones and joints. That gives me a firsthand understanding I take into every patient appointment and surgical procedure.”

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  • James Gannon, M.D.

    “Leading an active lifestyle provides an additional motivation to provide orthopedic care that will allow patients to return to the activities they enjoy.”

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  • Jerome Perra, M.D.

    “My goal is always to return the patient to his or her highest level of function, and to individualize post-operative
    and rehabilitation expectations.”

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  • Jack Skendzel, M.D.

    “An active lifestyle requires superior physical function, and I understand that my patients have exceptionally high standards for their performance and joint health. My goal is to return patients to optimal function so that they can continue to perform and master their personal athletic goals.”

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  • Eric Khetia, M.D.

    “My goal is to lead an active, healthy life and to allow my patients to do the same. Restoring them to pre-injury levels of functioning and allowing them to pursue the activities they enjoy inspires me.”

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  • Kristoffer Breien, M.D.

    “I tend to be more conservative in my approach, reserving surgery as a last option. In essence, I strive to care for patients and their problems in the same manner my family and I expect to be treated when we seek medical attention.”

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  • Daniel Hoeffel, M.D.

    “I am fortunate to be able to lead an active life. I ski, golf, bike, and travel with my family. Helping individuals regain their own ‘quality of life’ motivates me every day.”

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  • Peter Daly, M.D.

    “I understand the concern of athletes to get back to their sport. And I work in combination with our therapists
    to get them fully active.”

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