(11/15/12) - There is now a much less invasive way to fight knee pain than
having a total knee replacement surgery! The number of knee replacements has
gone up 134 percent in the past decade, but there is an alternative - one that
also comes with a significantly shorter recovery time.
Name a sport, Casey Lodge has probably tried it. He says he has always been an active guy, "I get bored sitting around."
But constant knee problems have forced him to sit out. Casey has had four surgeries to repair the problems.
He also developed bone marrow edema, "it was just a constant deep pain."
"The traditional answer has been a knee replacement," says Dr. Preston Wolin of the Chicago Center for Orthopedics.
But, Dr. Wolin had another option for Casey's arthritic knee. "The patient, instead of getting a plastic and metal knee, gets to keep theirs."
It is called subchondroplasty. A device guides the doctor to the part of the bone near the joint that's causing pain. A small incision is made, and special cement is injected into the bone.
Done by itself, Wolin says recovery time with subchondroplasty is six weeks. It is more like four to six months for a knee replacement. Casey had it along with another procedure to help with a knee mal alignment.
Wolin says the outpatient procedure can extend the life of knees by five to ten years, but it is not for everyone. "It's not a substitute for a knee replacement if there's advanced arthritis."
For Casey, it was the answer to his painful problem, "Got her fixed! It feels great."
Dr. Wolin says the bone cement used in this procedure dries in about 30 minutes. With just this treatment alone, some patients are able to walk, immediately.
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