Arthroscopy vs open knee replacement surgery

When conventional treatment for knee pain no longer works, people who suffer from chronic, severe knee pain often have to decide between two approaches: arthroscopic surgery or knee replacement. Deciding on knee replacement or arthroscopic surgery is an important one, and patients should understand the differences between the two procedures before proceeding.

Arthroscopic Surgery vs Knee Replacement

Arthroscopy and knee replacement are quite different procedures since one procedure preserves the natural knee joint, while the other replaces the parts of the knee joint with artificial ones.

Another major difference is their approaches. The size of the incisions made in these procedures varies greatly. Arthroscopic knee surgery is a minimally invasive surgery, and it involves making three tiny incisions in the knee joint, each one about a centimetre long. 

On the other hand, knee replacement surgery is completely the opposite; it is an open procedure. A long incision must be made over the centre of the knee to expose the entire joint during knee replacement surgery.

In addition, knee replacement surgery can also be done with minimally invasive techniques or in the traditional fashion. Remember, even minimally invasive knee replacements are still open surgeries. The procedure is not considered an arthroscopic knee surgery. 

Therefore, the minimally invasive procedure also differs from arthroscopic surgery and knee replacement surgery. However, the scar resulting from the incision in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery is a bit smaller compared to traditional knee surgery.

Arthroscopic Surgery or Knee Replacement

People suffering from chronic knee pain and osteoarthritis probably consider surgery. They should decide whether to have arthroscopic surgery or knee replacement surgery. Arthroscopic knee surgery involves resurfacing the joint surfaces that are in contact with one another. 

For instance, the development of bone spurs is one of the common disorders that in osteoarthritis. During joint movement, this bone spur protrudes and rubs against the adjacent joint surfaces. This results in pain, inflammation, and a reduction in range of motion. An orthopaedic surgeon can remove bone spurs by performing arthroscopic surgery and make the knee joint surfaces smooth.

Additionally, torn ligaments or cartilage within the knee can be repaired using arthroscopic knee surgery. Similar to the resurfacing process, cartilage and ligament repair can reduce pain and restore the lost functions of the knee.

As the name indicates, the objective of knee replacement surgery is to replace the damaged joint. Since the replaced joint is composed of artificial components, the movement will be smooth, and the likelihood of bone spurs and other abnormalities will be minimized. 

Another advantage of knee replacement surgery is that the prosthesis does not possess any nerve endings, so it does not send pain signals to your brain. The results of the surgery are exceptional. Most people who have had knee replacement surgery by Dr. Ajay Tiwari are very happy with the results. Almost all patients reported significant improvement in pain and improved functions of the knee within a short time after surgery.

Should I Get Arthroscopic Surgery?

When it comes to chronic knee problems, most patients ask, “Should I undergo arthroscopic surgery?”. Under certain conditions, the answer is yes. Orthopaedic surgeons usually prefer arthroscopic surgery only when other knee pain treatment options have failed to provide relief from the symptoms. Generally, knee pain can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, physical therapy, & steroid injections.

In case of knee problems after a conservative treatment strategy fails, knee arthroscopy can be considered before recommending knee replacement surgery. There were several reasons for choosing arthroscopic surgery over knee replacement. Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure, and the recovery time is also faster compared to knee replacement surgery. In addition, the range of motion is better with the natural knee joint than with the artificial knee joint.

Therefore, people who want to keep full flexion at the knee often prefer to undergo arthroscopic surgery rather than knee replacement surgery. Finally, knee replacement surgery after one or several arthroscopic surgeries is always an option. In such a case, patients may try arthroscopic surgery in order to resolve their problem without undergoing a knee replacement procedure.

Arthroscopy may not be a viable surgical option in some cases. It is because the disease in the knee joint might have progressed too far that arthroscopic surgery cannot resolve the problem. In such cases, patients usually undergo knee replacement surgery or have to continue with their conservative treatment options, even if they don’t provide full relief.

The board-certified knee surgeon, Dr. Ajay Kumar Tiwari, is one of the leading arthroscopic surgeons and knee replacement surgeons in Hyderabad. He has nearly 14 years of experience in treating various knee conditions ranging from mild to severe.

Make an appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon if you want to know more about knee pain treatments, including arthroscopic surgery and knee replacement surgery.