Advances in Knee Replacements

This new design allows surgeons to preserve the important central ligaments of the knee called the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments. This design should allow a knee replacement to move, respond, and feel more like a normal knee.

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The Anterior Hip

Patients are being told by both surgeons and orthopedic implant companies that Anterior Hip Replacement approach offers something unique and different compared to other approaches. This is a flatly untrue, unscientifically supported myth...

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Outpatient Joint Replacement

With Outpatient Joint Replacement Surgery, patients are able to return home the same day as the procedure. Patients also begin physical therapy within hours of surgery.

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Knee Arthritis Care in Northwest Oregon

Senior Male JoggingMultiple forms of arthritis may impact knee function and health, resulting in substantial discomfort and loss of joint mobility. Based on the type present, as well as the level of degeneration experienced, Dr. Ballard will recommend an approach for comprehensive care. Focus will be placed on both symptom relief and the correction of any present damage.

Types and Symptoms of Arthritis

There are three primary types of arthritis that may impact function of the knee joint:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Post-traumatic arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of knee arthritis, and is characterized by the progressive breakdown of joint cartilage. While genetics influence the occurrence of OA, aging and activity-associated wear-and-tear are also significant contributing factors.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that results in faster-paced cartilage destruction, and is often associated with severe joint swelling and immobility. Unlike OA and RA, post-traumatic arthritis stems from a specific joint injury, such as a ligament or meniscal tear, and may not emerge until years after the initial damage.

While pain and discomfort are the most recognizable signs of a potential arthritic knee condition, other frequently reported symptoms include:

  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Difficulty walking, standing, and/or climbing stairs
  • Sensation of the knee "giving way"
  • Joint "locking" and "buckling"

In many cases, symptoms will grow more frequent and extreme over time, as well as be exacerbated by periods of physical activity. When diagnosing the presence of knee arthritis, Dr. Ballard will document a symptom history, as well as employ a combination of basic motion tests and more in-depth diagnostic exams (such as an MRI or x-ray).

Non-Invasive Treatment Approaches

Upon the initial delivery of a knee arthritis diagnosis, non-invasive treatment efforts will likely be recommended for pain relief, and in turn, improved mobility. Frequently prescribed approaches include, but are not limited to:

  • Weight and/or nutrition management
  • Exercise and/or physical therapy
  • Bracing or other orthotics
  • Mobility supports (i.e. crutches or walker)
  • Anti-inflammatory and pain medications

If these non-invasive efforts do not provide substantial relief, or if initial damage is too severe for their use, an additional approach to surgical correction may be recommended.

Surgical Correction of Arthritis

Depending on the type of knee arthritis present, as well as the location of the specific damage sustained, Dr. Ballard will determine the best operation type for injury repair. Common forms of corrective surgery include:

  • Arthroscopic surgery (ligament and cartilage repair)
  • Osteotomy (joint alignment)
  • Total or partial arthroplasty (joint replacement)
  • Cartilage grafting (cartilage replacement)

Whether a minimally invasive or traditional open approach is employed, a gradual approach to knee rehabilitation will be encouraged, emphasizing the avoidance of post-op irritation or re-injury.

Ongoing Recovery and Rehabilitation

Immediately after surgery, all stitches or sutures should remain covered by a dry, surgical dressing for up to 2 weeks. In addition the RICE approach of rest, ice, compression, and elevation will likely be recommended for use in combination with anti-inflammatory and pain medications, in order to reduce post-op discomfort and pain.

Dr. Ballard will prescribe a gradual return to physical activities and overarching knee use. Initial therapy efforts will focus on rebuilding flexibility and rotation, followed by the undertaking of strength exercises. Regular checkups will be completed to ensure successful recovery, as well as the avoidance of over-exertion or other setbacks.

As with any surgical procedure, unexpected symptoms or causes for concern should be reported to the medical team immediately.

To learn more about Dr. Ballard's approach to treating knee arthritis, contact either his Oregon City or Tualatin practice at (503) 656-0836.