By Regenexx Tampa Bay, Regenerative Medicine
Knee replacements are occurring far too often today and the simple truth is that many are entirely unnecessary. In some cases, the knee pain may actually be stemming from another part of the body. Even when using standard criteria for determining candidacy, about one-third of knee replacements are deemed inappropriate when evaluated by independent researchers.
When knee pain is legitimately caused by a knee condition, many knee replacement candidates seek out effective alternatives to surgery. For those who are still considering a replacement, here are five reasons that may make you want to think twice.
- Chronic Knee Pain
Relief from chronic knee pain is the main reason that most people decide to have a knee replacement. Although many people can get good relief from a knee replacement, unfortunately, for some people, surgery may come with continued or additional pain. Studies have shown that many patients still have at least mild pain after their knee replacement. Most people decrease their sporting and athletic activities within 5 years of their surgery.
Although there are many reasons why someone may continue to have pain, one explanation of chronic knee pain could be that the source of the pain was not actually a knee condition, to begin with. If the knee pain is actually caused by spinal nerves from the back, for example, then your pain will not simply go away after a knee replacement. It is essential that the root cause of the pain is discovered and is the focus of treatment.
- Pseudotumors & Tissue Damage
Wear particles are microscopic pieces of metal, ceramic, or plastic that come from the joint replacement part, irritate the local tissues, and/or enter the bloodstream. These particles, as well as metal ions in the blood, have been the subject of many class-
action lawsuits and can cause harmful metal toxicity as well as create pseudotumors, tissue damage, and even DNA injury. According to the FDA, other adverse reactions may include skin rashes, cardiomyopathy, neurological changes, psychological status changes, kidney function impairment, and thyroid dysfunction.
- Device Failure Caused By Allergies
In the past few years, multiple studies have discussed that the components of knee replacement prostheses can cause allergies. Two groups of people are at a significantly higher risk of potential rejection or loosening of their device and/or toxicity from wear particles.
Those with any type of allergy. Even patients with allergies to pollen or dander should think twice about knee replacement surgery. These people have hyperactive immune systems and secrete antibodies inappropriately to rid their bodies of the thing that they have mistaken as harmful.
Patients who have more specific allergies to metal will likely have issues with the metals that are used in joint replacement prostheses.
- Increased Risk of Heart Attack & Stroke
Knee replacement patients aged 60 and up are about 30 times more likely to experience a heart attack or stroke in the two weeks following surgery. When you amputate a joint from a patient, there is severe trauma to the blood vessels and bone marrow space. The stress of undergoing joint removal alone may be enough to trigger a stroke or a heart attack. Additionally, there is a higher risk of blood clots that could potentially cause an embolism in the heart, lungs, or brain.
- Increased Risk of Hip Fracture
A surprising addition to knee replacement surgery risks is the rise of hip fractures following surgery. A national Dutch study showed a 54% increased risk of hip fracture after a knee replacement among adults aged <71 years old. We are also seeing bone density loss in hips.
Alternatives to Surgery
Although many patients have tried steroid injections to decrease pain in their knee joints, this is not the best approach. Steroid shots kill off stem cells, cartilage cells, and increase cartilage breakdown. Even commonly used local anesthetics can be toxic to stem and cartilage cells.
Those who suffer from mild arthritis may benefit from precise injections of highly concentrated platelet-rich plasma (PRP). These natural growth factors from your own platelets can support healthy cartilage and prevent the natural breakdown over time.
The Regenexx protocols allow for the ability to produce higher quality and more individualized platelet products than the typical PRP centrifuge. Precise guided injections of your own bone marrow derived stem cells may also be a better choice to provide relief especially in those with moderate to advanced arthritis.
When considering knee replacement surgery, make sure that you research alternative options. Our website is a great place to start understanding if regenerative orthopedic medicine is right for you.
Regenexx Tampa Bay provides trusted solutions by orthopedic stem cell experts. We offer the nation’s most advanced, researched, and evidence-based non-surgical stem cell and platelet treatments for injuries and arthritis.
James Leiber, D.O.
Ron Torrance II, D.O.
Ignatios Papas, D.O.
Michael Amoroso, M.D.