Knee surgery is not the same for all patients. While one person may have a torn meniscus that needs repairing, another might have a torn ACL. Several different types of knee surgery exist, each of which requires their own procedure and own recovery time. Certain conditions help indicate which kind of surgery a person would receive.

ACL Reconstruction Surgery

People have four major ligaments within their knees. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament, or ACL, is one of them. Athletes are the most likely to suffer from damage to this particular section, as the vigorous activities they do force sudden impacts in that area. Twisting and jumping are especially to blame for ACL injuries. An acl reconstruction surgery requires the use of a graft of tissue. Though people can walk using crutches and a leg brace immediately following the operation, it will take up to six months at least for anyone to return to the sport that caused the injury in the first place. Physical therapy will be necessary in the meantime.

Meniscus Repair

The meniscus refers to cartilage within the knee that is meant to protect the joints. One of the main knee surgery options is meniscus repair that fixes the damage done to this particular component of the knee. Twisting during certain sports, such as basketball, can easily cause a tear here. It may be difficult to walk or even extend the knee outward. People with a torn meniscus tend to feel severe discomfort. The area may even swell or feel incredibly stiff. An arthroscopy procedure that only requires one or a couple of small incisions is most commonly used for this surgery.

Many patients try alternative solutions for a tear. Because of this, the recovery from surgery can take longer since further damage could have been done during that time frame of first trying other options. If proper self-care, stretching, and even physical therapy does not help after a couple of weeks, surgery is the final option. People may require several months of brace use to heal properly. This is because the knee cannot be bent or overused too much if the repair is going to stick.

Knee Replacement

Sometimes, a full knee replacement is needed. Osteoarthritis is a common culprit. The knee becomes badly damaged and inflamed. The pain becomes unbearable. Many people experience limited mobility because of this. A replacement surgery will remove the damaged portions and replace them with prostheses. When a total knee replacement is completed, recovery time can be lengthy. Starting with physical therapy is important. It helps to strengthen the knee and give people back their mobility. It will take at least a month, if not a little longer, before patients are able to drive again. Some people recover completely in as little as three months, while others take a full year before they feel like themselves again.

Knee surgeries come in a variety of styles and are based on various symptoms and amount of damage. It’s always best to start with alternative options first to try and fix the problem before deciding on a surgical procedure that can take months or longer to recover from. Ask your doctor about any questions you may have and discuss your options thoroughly. Minimally invasive options and minor surgeries could be all that’s needed over a major surgery or full replacement.

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Sara T. Loving

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