Total Knee Arthroplasty: An Investigation of the Causes, the Surgery, the Alternatives, and the Patient Results of the Procedure
The population in American society is growing older by the day. Not only are people living longer, but they are also becoming more and more active. This active lifestyle that many elderly people lead has lead to a dramatic increase in the number of osteoarthritis cases nation wide. Osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the most prevalent and damaging skeletal disorders that can occur. This degenerative disorder of the knee causes intense pain, loss of stability, decreased strength, loss of range of motion, and overall discomfort for the patient. This disease occurs as the result of a traumatic injury, a genetic disease, or, in most cases, from simple wear and tear of the knee joint due to simple everyday activities. Until about 25 years ago, the only option that patients had to combat this disease was to take various kinds of drugs or injections and go through intense physical therapy sessions. However, a procedure known as Total Knee Arthroplasty has been developed and has become one of the most widely used procedures for relieve the pain and discomfort that a patient feels due to osteoarthritis. The success rates and patient satisfaction for this procedure are extremely high making it a highly desirable operation, not only for the elderly population, but also for the middle aged population as well. Although there are a small number of drawbacks and risks to this procedure, the positive aspects of TKA far outweigh the negative. This paper will discuss the reasons why TKA is chosen by patients with knee pain, what it is that causes their pain, and how TKA improves the quality of life of those who undergo the procedure. In addition, the surgery itself will be described as well as a list of alternatives to the procedure, both surgical and non-surgical.