A spike in needed procedures is driving many hospitals and insurance companies to study knee replacement surgery recovery in patients. Many medical centers are working together and independently to search for ways to better the surgeries, in order to create fewer complications in patients.
The knee-ded initiatives
As more and more patients turn to surgery to get knee pain relief, more centers of medicine are searching for ways to perfect the procedure. Blue Cross Blue Shield has teamed up with 13 different hospitals in Michigan to begin a new joint replacement program. It’s only one of many similar programs that are already in use around the United States. By studying recovery complications in patients, the programs hope to eliminate the need for additional surgeries that repair and replace these artificial joints. Data will be collected from individual institutions and compiled for study.
“Our data registry will first focus on how to improve outcomes right after surgery,” said Dr. Brian Hallstrom, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Michigan, in a statement. He says the registry will help reduce “infections and other complications” in patients who have had a knee joint replaced. The program will also look at the long-term affects of knee replacement surgery.
Replacement and revision surgeries may cost even more than the initial knee replacement surgery, a huge expense to the patient and insurance companies. Over time, replaced joints may begin to degrade and wear out — leaving patients in pain once again. Knee replacement surgery recovery periods may also be complicated by infection that could lead to further surgery and treatment. Data-sharing studies could lead to new breakthroughs in knee replacement techniques and the recovery period that follows, but surgery is not the only option for knee pain relief.
Pain relief without surgery
Partial knee replacement surgery techniques are also becoming more common. Many patients find that the rate of degradation in partially replaced knee joints is slower than those which have been replaced in total. Completely nonsurgical methods of knee pain relief are also gaining ground, and new techniques could help patients avoid costly joint replacement surgeries. Massage techniques, therapeutic exercises and many modern therapies are being practiced in treatment centers around the country.
Even over-the-counter supplements can help some sufferers find knee pain relief, particularly when used in conjunction with stretching exercises and massage techniques. Explore all your options before getting knee replacement surgery. Consult with your physician and physical therapist to learn about the many different treatment options that are available.