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Orthopedic Knee Surgery Chicago, IL: Types, Procedures, and Other Things You Should Know About

The human knee poses as one of the largest and most complex joints in the organism. The knee is the one that joins femur (the thigh bone) to the tibia (the shin bone). Besides shoulder, it’s one of the most active joints in the body, and it comes as no surprise that the vast majority of injuries occur in this region. Just like all other joint injuries, the traditional treatments are quite successful, and surgery is rarely necessary. The doctor recommends surgery only when conservative therapies aren’t successful or when active people want to be able to perform their activities without feeling the pain. Throughout this article, we’re going to discuss the types of orthopedic knee surgery performed at our Chicago, IL practice.

Orthopedic Knee Surgery

Knee anatomy (Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org)

Meniscectomy

Meniscectomy is the surgical procedure whose primary aim is the removal of all or a portion of the torn meniscus. The meniscus cartilage is a shock-absorbing wedge sitting between the bone ends to provide support and cushioning. A meniscus tear is a quite common knee joint injury that is surgically treated only when other treatment options fail. Our Chicago location handles all types if meniscus surgery from work related injuries to sports injuries. 

There are different types of meniscectomy and the choice of surgery depends on the size and location of the tear, patient’s age, activity level, and other factors. In most cases, meniscectomy is performed with arthroscopy, a procedure that both examines and repairs the inside of the joint.

Arthroscope, a thin tube, containing a camera and light is inserted through small incisions near the joint. The surgeons use miniature surgical instruments and insert them through incisions. One of the major advantages of this surgical approach is the fact it doesn’t leave big scars.

Meniscectomy can be partial and total wherein the entire meniscus is removed. The procedure requires either general or regional anesthesia, depending on the patient’s general health and severity of the tear.

The surgery is followed by a period of rest, walking, and selected exercises. Most individuals who undergo this surgery can return to full activity in about two to four weeks.

Meniscus Repair

In some cases, the meniscus is damaged, but the surgical treatment doesn’t require removal of the entire cartilage. When this happens, meniscus repair is the ideal solution. The repair surgery is only considered when the tear is on the outer portion of the meniscus. This is an outpatient procedure and includes a variety of minimally invasive techniques incorporated under general anesthesia. In addition to the general anesthetic, the surgeon injects the local anesthetic in the knee and the incision sites.

Meniscus repair usually recovers arthroscopic approach and lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. We offer the surgery in a Chicago based outpatient facility, 

Meniscus Transplant

This procedure also uses arthroscopy. Here, a damaged meniscus is replaced with cartilage from a donor. It’s possible to perform this surgery in an outpatient or inpatient setting. During the operation, the surgeon makes an incision (2- to 4-inch) in the knee as well as a few other “poke” holes, the affected cartilage or the portion of it is taken out and replaced with new one.

After the surgery, the patient has to wear a knee brace and use crutches for the first four to six weeks. Once the swelling from the surgery settles down, the physical therapy begins. Adhering to physical therapy enables a patient to recover adequately and return to everyday activities in a timely manner.

Lateral Release

A lateral release is typically performed to alleviate pain in the kneecap caused when it’s abnormally pulled to the outer area of its groove. The procedure is arthroscopic and aims to realign the kneecap.

Duration of the surgery is about an hour or less and requires either regional or general anesthesia. The patient gets to go home the same day. It’s important to stick to the physical therapy. Failing to do physical therapy (or refusing to do so) could prolong the entire recovery period. Generally, the patient sees improvement in mobility in about three months.

Patellar/Quadriceps Tendon Repair

The patellar and quadriceps tendon is susceptible to rupture, thus causing issues with movement and leg flexibility, especially when straightening out the affected leg. Both tendons are at the front portion of the knee, above and below the kneecap. Tendons usually rupture due to severe hit or accident. Complete tears require surgical movement; however, the process is performed within a few weeks of the injury. It’s because delayed treatment leads to less successful results.

The goal of surgery is to suture the ruptured tendon back to its attachment. To do this, the surgeon uses a drill to make tunnels or holes and then loops sutures through them to pull the tendon to the bone.

Brace is necessary to protect the operated area and prevent potential new injuries. The brace is usually taken off in three months, while most patients get to resume with everyday activities in four to six months.

ACL Reconstructive Surgery

The goal of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructive surgery is to restore normal stability in the knee and level of function the patient had before the knee injury. The procedure also aims to prevent the degeneration of knee joint structures. ACL reconstruction requires a graft selection, meaning the patient needs to select replacement tissue from their body or a donor.

Our Chicago based ACL surgery usually takes the arthroscopic approach to the ACL reconstructive surgery, and the procedure requires an outpatient setting. After the surgery, the patient might feel exhausted for a few days and notice swelling and numbness in the knee. Furthermore, the shin and ankle might be bruised and swollen as well.

Other Common Knee Surgeries

  • Partial knee replacement – poses as an option for certain types of knee arthritis. It’s considered to be minimally-invasive surgery
  • Knee replacement – the bone and the cartilage on the end of the thigh bone (femur) as well as tibia are all removed. The surgeon replaces these structures with implant that can be either metal or plastic
  • Microfracture – done to address areas of cartilage damage inside the knee joint. It causes a healing response. In turn, new cartilage is formed

Conclusion

The knee poses as the most complex joint in the body, and it belongs to the group of the most active joints as well. The size of the knee joint, as well as its constant movement and flexibility, make it susceptible to injuries and accidents. It’s important to consult the doctor whenever you experience a persistent pain that limits the movement. In cases when medications and low-impact exercises don’t help, the doctor may recommend a surgical procedure to address the issue. Most procedures regarding the knee joint require arthroscopic approach with small incisions and, thus, small scars.

References

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/meniscectomy-for-a-meniscus-tear
http://www.orthop.washington.edu/?q=patient-care/articles/sports/arthroscopic-meniscus-repair.html
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00381
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/anterior-cruciate-ligament-acl-surgery