What are the common Types of Knee Surgery?

What are the common Types of Knee Surgery?

Since the knee is the largest joint in the human body, a procedure to repair said knee will vary, based on the extent of the injury...

As our most complex joint and the primary method of supporting our weight, the knee bears a huge amount of potential stress over a human lifetime of twisting, turning, and moving. 

So as you can imagine, the knee can be susceptible to a myriad of conditions and injuries, from the minor annoyances of slight pain to the surgery-requiring mini-cataclysms of ACL and MCL tears.

Since the knee is also the largest joint in the human body, a procedure to repair said knee will vary based on the extent of the injury (and also the particular section of the knee which is injured). 

Let's talk about the most common types of knee surgery that we see in the operating room.
 

Here are the most common types of knee surgery:

Knee surgery type 1: ACL Reconstruction (Anterior Cruciate Ligament surgery)
 

Although this injury can derail athletes in the short-term, its certainly possible to back bounce better than ever from the setback.
— Dr. Sterett
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ACL Reconstruction


I've referred to this as "the dreaded ACL injury" before on this blog, and that's because a torn ACL is one of the most common injuries to the knee faced by athletes, from amateurs on to the pros. 

Pretty much everybody is susceptible to ACL injuries, but there has been an increase focus on the unique susceptibility of female athletes when it comes to knee injuries. Also, we've found that hyper-lax (loose-jointed) athletes are more apt to suffer the dreaded ACL tear.

 As the Head Physician for the U.S. Women's Alpine Ski Team for the last 20 years, I'm in a unique position to shed some additional light upon the topic. (For more information regarding ACL tears in female athletes, click here or visit the link below).

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THE FEMALE ACL

Educating female athletes on the topic of knee injuries

 
More About ACL Reconstruction

To reconstruct the ACL, we use an allograft or autograft, and although this injury can derail athletes in the short-term, its certainly possible to back bounce better than ever from the setback, as I detail in this article.
 

Knee Surgery Type 2 - Meniscus Tear Surgeries

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The Meniscus

Meniscectomy/Arthroscopy

In this type of surgery, our goal is to repair a damaged meniscus, which is a particularly important piece of cartilage in the knee. 

In the most common scenario, we will perform an arthroscopy, which entails making several incisions about the circumference of the knee in order to remove the damaged portions of the meniscus.
 

Meniscus Repair

Cartilage repair may be possible in some cases (usually when the outer and not the inner portion of the meniscus is torn) and may decrease the odds of arthritis when compared to arthroscopy. 
 

Meniscus Transplant

In this case, the cartilage from the damaged meniscus is replaced with cartilage from a donor.  This is ideal when the meniscus cannot be repaired,  but we do have access to donor cartilage. 

other types of knee surgery

Microfracture Surgery

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Microfracture Surgery

You've probably heard your favorite sports pundits talk about this type of surgery, as it's become omnipresent in professional athletics. A few notable athletes have seen promising careers derailed as a result of needing this surgery. 

Let's talk logistics: In this type of surgery, small holes are created in the bone, helping circulate and stimulate cartilage growth to replace cartilage which is currently damaged. This allows the athlete in question to recover quicker when dealing with cartilage damage and get back to the fields of friendly strife at a more rapid pace.

Lateral Release

This method of knee surgery is performed to combat kneecap pain that is being caused by an abnormal amount of pulling in its outer groove.  In a successful lateral release surgery, the kneecap is realigned via arthroscopic surgery.

Tendon Repair

Two tendons that are located in the front portion of your knee (below the kneecap) are the quadriceps and the patellar tendon. These tendons may rupture if they suffer a direct impact or if you fall on them, resulting in a loss of flexibility and movement in your leg. 

Partial Knee Replacement
 

This procedure, if a viable option, is preferable to a full knee replacement...

We see some patients with osteoarthritis which is confined to one portion of the knee. In this case, the portion of the knee that is damaged can be replaced with components constructed from metal and plastic.  

This procedure is preferable to a full knee replacement because it's less complicated, requires less recovery time, and retains some of the "natural" feel of the knee.

total  Knee Replacement
 

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Total Knee Replacement

A full knee replacement is just what it sounds like- we fully replace the knee joint.

This procedure is for people with severe osteoarthritis.  For more information on the Total Knee Replacement, click here.


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