Bilateral Total Knee Arthroplasty Surgery: How to Choose Bet...

Bilateral Total Knee Arthroplasty Surgery: How to Choose Between Simultaneous and Staged

Fabio R. Orozco, M.D. June 19th, 2015

Severe arthritis in any part of the body can be both painful and debilitating. Arthritis in the knees, however, has the potential to drastically change a person’s way of life. A person who was once active, energetic and healthy can be completely sidelined by the onset of severe osteoarthritis. When cartilage deterioration escalates to this kind of level, the patient often suffers in the following ways:

  • experiences chronic pain
  • develops a limp
  • becomes unable to perform normal, daily functions
  • is kept awake at night with pain
  • in some cases, cannot continue working
If the pain is equally as severe in both knees and after conservative approaches of care have been attempted without success, an orthopaedic specialist will sometimes recommend the possibility of bilateral total knee arthroplasty surgery.

Are You Suffering From Severe Knee Pain?

Do you identify all too well with what we just described above? If you or someone you love is in this difficult position, you should know that there is an effective treatment approach. While any kind of major surgery - especially surgery on both knees - may seem daunting, you can rest assured in the following information:
  1. If there is anywhere to have bilateral total knee arthroplasty surgery, it is at Rothman Institute. At a convenient location near you, you have access to some of the nation’s top knee specialists. They’re known for the leadership in orthopaedic research and innovation and for their clinical expertise specifically in joint replacement procedures.
  2. Total knee replacement surgery is considered one of the safest and most effective surgeries in medicine. Every year, over half a million patients throughout the U.S. benefit from the incredible results of this procedure.
  3. The goal of a joint replacement procedure is to relieve pain and restore function. Because you only get one set of natural cartilage and it is unable to heal or repair itself, a complete replacement of the joint with prosthetic components is often the most effective treatment to address the pain of what would otherwise be a lifetime of bone-on-bone contact in the knees.

How to Prepare for Bilateral Total Knee Arthroplasty Surgery

If, based on the information you’ve read so far, you believe you may be a candidate for bilateral knee replacement, the very first step is setting up an appointment at a local branch of Rothman Institute. With office locations all over the Delaware Valley, you won’t have to travel far to see one of our knee specialists. Call 1-800-321-9999 to make your appointment.
 
At your appointment, the physician will conduct a physical exam, review your medical history and look over your x-rays. Whether your cartilage breakdown has occurred over time (this is referred to as osteoarthritis, or “degenerative joint disease”) or due to a specific injury, the damage will be clearly visible in the x-ray images.
 
The pain, swelling and stiffness you’re experiencing is due to the fact that without the protective layer of cushioning cartilage, the bones in your knee are left rubbing and grinding against one another with every step. Your physician will be able to show you the visible proof of that in your x-rays.
 
If your doctor believes that based on your exam and x-rays, you should undergo a bilateral total knee arthroplasty surgery, then the next step is to decide whether that surgery will be simultaneous or staged. Ask your doctor for more information on this important decision, but in the mean time, consider the following pro’s and con’s:
 
Simultaneous Procedure
Advantages: A single surgical event with one anesthesia, a shorter hospital stay and a single recovery period
Disadvantages: "Bigger" surgery, higher stress on cardiovascular system, slightly more difficult rehabilitation period
 
Staged Procedure
Advantages: Lower stress on cardiovascular system, less risk of needing blood after surgery, best for older patients
Disadvantages: Requires two hospital stays, two separate anesthesias and patient has to go through the recovery period and rehabilitation two separate times
 
Talk with your doctor about what she or he recommends for your particular case. For more information, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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