A total knee replacement should not be your first choice of treatment. It is major surgery, and complications may occur.
Joint replacements do not last forever. On average, a new knee lasts 10 to 15 years depending on your age, activity level and bone quality.
Before deciding on knee replacement, there are important questions you need to ask yourself, your doctor and your health care insurer.
Your body will tell you when it is time to have your knee replaced. If you answer "yes" to two or more of these questions, it's time to talk to your doctor about it.
You will need to work with an orthopedist to determine if a total knee replacement is right for you. This doctor will examine you and order an X-ray of your knee joint.
The orthopedist will look for joint degeneration with bone rubbing on bone. He or she will ask you about the severity of your pain, and how much pain interferes with normal activities. The doctor will also look for stiffness and instability in your joint.
Ask your doctor these questions:
In the end, the decision is yours to make based on what your doctor recommends. You will know when the time is right. Your body will tell you.
Health care benefits are constantly changing. They also differ from plan to plan and provider to provider. It is important to understand your health care benefits before your surgery.
Call your insurance provider and find out exactly what is and is not covered under your plan.
Ask your health care insurer these questions:
Allina Health Total Joint Program
Dawn Yetter, RN, BSN, certified orthopedic nurse, Unity Hospital Joint Replacement Center
Knee Replacement manual by Allina Health's Patient Education Department