Alternative Treatments for Knee Replacement Surgery

Dr. Bassam Masri, MD, FRCSC, Orthopedic Surgeon, discusses alternative treatements to consisder before having knee replacement surgery.

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Dr. Bassam Masri, MD, FRCSC, Orthopedic Surgeon, discusses alternative treatements to consisder before having knee replacement surgery.
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Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Bassam Masri, MD, FRCSC, Orthopedic Surgeon

Duration: 2 minutes, 34 seconds

For patients who have arthritis of the knee who might consider a knee replacement, if the pain is not severe enough to warrant the risk of surgery then they should not consider an operation.  

That may be a given but sometimes people forget that there are other options as we had discussed. Also there are patients who come in with severe pain in the knee but the objective investigation such as an x-ray do not really show a lot of arthritis.  

Those are the patients who raise red flags in terms of potentially having ongoing issues or ongoing pain after surgery. And for many of those patients the surgeon would tell them that they are better served by nonsurgical treatment as opposed to surgical treatment, because their outcome would not be expected to be very good.  

Finally, people with significant obesity can have a lot of complications with surgery and their outcome is not as predictable. And as a rule patients with severe obesity – and that means a body mass index over 40 or 45 – would not be served best by a knee replacement for their arthritis but they are better served by being given advice to lose weight and even consider having surgical treatment for their obesity to lose significant amounts of weight before they consider a knee replacement.

There are also certain technical conditions where a knee replacement is not possible. If the knee is almost fused or extremely stiff then the outcome isn’t as good and the patient should have a discussion with their surgeon about the potential outcome and the potential benefit for them.  

If there’s an active infection it is an absolute contraindication to a knee replacement so a knee replacement cannot be done in the presence of an active infection either in the knee or anywhere else in the body.  

If there is poor skin over the knee then there is a very high risk for infection and surgery cannot be done. So many patients think that once they’ve had a knee replacement this is it, they cannot have another one. That’s an urban legend and knee replacements can be redone should they fail down the road.  

And sometimes they can be redone more than once. But ideally it should be done appropriately on the appropriate patient the first time so that it can last as long as possible. So if you have any more questions or if you are concerned that surgery is not an option for you consult with your

Presenter: Dr. Bassam Masri, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Orthopaedic Surgeon

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.