Knee Replacement Surgery and Conservative Alternatives for Residents of Lafayette, LA, and Surrounding Areas
In certain cases, knee replacement surgery can be an effective solution for addressing severe knee joint damage. Peter D. Vizzi, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who practices in Lafayette, Louisiana, may suggest a knee replacement to repair the damage that occurred either gradually over time due to arthritis or suddenly due to a traumatic injury, such as a fracture, cartilage tear, or ligament tear. In Dr. Vizzi’s experience, however, conservative knee pain treatment is often effective enough to delay or eliminate the need for surgery. For this reason, nonsurgical treatment is generally his first-line approach for treating knee pain.
The Importance of an Accurate Diagnosis
If you have severe or chronic knee pain, your first step toward finding relief is to pinpoint the underlying cause. An early and accurate diagnosis is essential to ensure that you can achieve the best possible results from conservative treatment, which may help you avoid knee replacement surgery. Therefore, you should promptly schedule an appointment with Dr. Vizzi if:
- You have severe pain in or behind your knee joint, or in your kneecap, that persists or recurs over time
- You are unable to fully bend your knee
- You are unable to bend or move your knee without pain
- You experience a grating sensation in your knee during movement
- Your knee produces a popping or snapping sound during activity
- Your knee is very stiff or swollen
- You feel as if your knee is about to buckle or “give out” while you are walking, running, or jumping
- Your knee pain interferes with your sleep
- Your knee aches during or after exercise
- Your knee joint stiffens after an extended period of sitting or inactivity
- You have difficulty walking or climbing stairs
- You have trouble getting in and out of cars, chairs, or bathtubs
- You are not as mobile as you once were or would like to be
- Your knee pain does not sufficiently respond to over-the-counter medications
Treatment Options for Knee Pain
To diagnose your condition, Dr. Vizzi will review your medical history, including any prior knee injuries and surgeries, discuss your symptoms, perform a thorough physical examination, and test your knee strength and range of motion. He may also order and analyze certain imaging studies (X-rays can be performed on-site at Dr. Vizzi’s office, and he may order CT or MRI scans as needed).
Prior to discussing knee replacement surgery, Dr. Vizzi will likely suggest that you try a customized treatment plan consisting of one or more conservative options, such as:
- Lifestyle modifications – You may find that your symptoms improve after you lose excess body weight, discontinue high-impact activities, and make other adjustments to your daily routine to minimize the stress on your damaged knee.
- Physical therapy – By performing targeted exercises, you can strengthen the muscles that support your knee, allowing those muscles to take on some of the weight that is overburdening your injured joint.
- Medications – By reducing inflammation in your knee, over-the-counter or prescription-strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can provide temporary but effective pain relief.
- Corticosteroids injections – Corticosteroids are potent medications that can be injected directly into a degenerated knee joint to effectively reduce painful inflammation for up to several months.
- Hyaluronic acid (HA) injections – Research shows that some osteoarthritic knees have low levels of HA, a natural joint lubricant that promotes smooth, pain-free movement. Also known as viscosupplementation, HA injections can help lubricate a degenerated knee and, as a result, may provide several months of pain relief. However, this treatment will not hinder the progression of osteoarthritis.
In the event that you do not find sufficient pain relief after several weeks of nonsurgical treatment, Dr. Vizzi may suggest that you consider knee replacement surgery. In general, when performing this type of procedure, which is also known as a total knee arthroplasty, Dr. Vizzi will surgically remove damaged knee cartilage, then insert a highly polished metal implant and a medical-grade plastic (polyethylene) spacer in its place. You may also want to talk with Dr. Vizzi about the option of robotic-assisted knee replacement surgery.
If you ultimately elect to undergo knee joint replacement surgery, you can feel confident in Dr. Vizzi, who is highly skilled and experienced in using the latest surgical repair techniques to improve his patients’ joint function and enhance their quality of life. Dr. Vizzi will help you prepare for your procedure and explain what you can expect during your recovery.
To learn more about knee replacement surgery and conservative alternatives, contact Dr. Vizzi’s office in Lafayette, LA. We’ll be pleased to schedule you an appointment with Dr. Vizzi, an active athlete and respected surgeon who offers effective treatment through experience.