When it comes to knee surgery, there are usually two options for surgery: arthroscopy or osteotomy. These two types of knee surgery are chosen based on the extent of the knee injury. Arthroscopy is a less invasive method which repairs the knee through small incisions while osteotomy is a more invasive way to fix one section of the knee. When there is injury throughout the knee, or reason to expect the knee will deteriorate entirely, doctors may also advise a total knee replacement, which substitutes the knee joint with prosthetic components.
Arthroscopy: What is it?
Knee arthroscopy is usually the least invasive method of knee surgery. The surgery is named for its use of an arthroscope, an instrument that uses lenses, a video camera, and a light in a small tube to look at problems inside the joint. Having a camera inside the knee allows surgeons to make precise excisions and repairs to a specific area without having to increase the size of the surgical site.
When Is Arthroscopy Used?
Arthroscopy is often performed to:
- Diagnose an injury or disease.
- Remove bone or cartilage from an area.
- Repair tendons or ligaments.
While arthroscopy is a procedure usually chosen for its limited invasiveness, certain complications, including infection, blood clots, swelling, or nerve or tissue damage, may occur. When planning an arthroscopic surgery, your doctor will review all potential problems and address any concerns about the surgical procedure.
Osteotomy: What is it?
While arthroscopy is usually used to deal with cartilage and ligament issues, osteotomy, as the name suggests, often involves surgery related to the bone. In this procedure, the tibia (shinbone) or femur (thighbone) is cut and reshaped to relieve pressure on one area of the knee joint, usually to relieve early-stage osteoarthritis.
When Is Knee Osteotomy Used?
Knee Osteotomy is usually used to:
- Transfer weight from the arthritic part of the knee to a healthier area.
- Correct poor knee alignment.
- Extend the lifespan of the organic knee joint.
Though knee osteotomy remains an option for many patients, total or partial knee replacement, or arthroplasty, is another successful method to relieve chronic pain and knee stiffness.
Total Knee Replacement:
As the name implies, total knee replacement involves the removal of all or part of the knee to remove damaged cartilage and bone. Then, a new joint is added, made from plastic or metal, to facilitate better movement in the joint.
When is Knee Replacement Used?
Total knee replacement is used to either relieve knee pain due to arthritis or a previous knee injury, or to correct a knee deformity.
While osteotomy and knee replacement may also cause side effects like infection, swelling, blood clots, or chronic weakness, both can provide tremendous benefits to patients suffering from arthritic knee pain.
To learn more about arthroscopy, osteotomy, and knee replacement, or to receive help for your knee pain, reach out to your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
The information in this article is provided for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional consultation with a healthcare provider familiar with your medical background and history.