The knee is an essential joint of the body, and it’s complex. It connects the thigh with the rest of the leg. It supports almost all of the human body’s weight, making the knee susceptible to multiple types of injuries and conditions, with numerous types of knee surgery available for treatment. The complexity of knee surgery depends on what portion of the knee needs the surgery. Moreover, it depends on what kind of repair is necessary. Here are ten common types of knee surgery used to treat anything from a torn ACL to microfracture surgery.
A surgeon will perform a meniscectomy knee surgery when a portion of the knee’s cartilage called the meniscus is damaged, causing pain, swelling, and issues with movement. The most common form of a meniscectomy is arthroscopy. In arthroscopic surgery, small incisions are made around the knee to insert a small camera and various instruments needed to remove the damaged meniscus safely.
2. Meniscus Repair
In some instances of the damaged meniscus, it is possible to repair the cartilage rather than altogether remove it. Meniscus restoration is often more beneficial than total removal because it decreases the risk of developing arthritis after surgery. Repair surgery is primarily possible when the damage is on the outer part of the meniscus. If it is towards the center of the meniscus, the absence of an adequate blood supply prevents the center of the meniscus from healing itself after the repair.
3. Meniscus Transplant
A meniscus transplant is another type of knee surgery for a damaged meniscus that also uses arthroscopy. For this type of knee surgery, a surgeon will replace the damaged meniscus with cartilage from a donor. Just like meniscus repair, this procedure is beneficial because it reduces the risk of knee pain and arthritis in the future.
4. Plica Surgery
The plica is the tissue on the knee that is hugely exposed to injury. A doctor may treat a plica injury, also “plica syndrome,” with surgical or non-surgical techniques. The main goal for managing plica syndrome is to decrease inflammation. In more severe cases, you might need to get arthroscopic surgery.
5. Lateral Release
A lateral release is a type of knee surgery typically used to alleviate the kneecap caused when you accidentally pull your kneecap abnormally to the outer area of its groove. It is another arthroscopic procedure and should realign the kneecap.
6. Tendon Repair
The patellar tendon and the quadriceps tendon can tear, causing leg flexibility and movement issues, primarily when straightening one’s leg completely. Tendon breach mostly happens due to a fall or an accident, making the tendons rip. You might need surgical repair for more severe injuries to the patellar and quadriceps tendons.
7. ACL Reconstructive Surgery
An injury to the anterior cruciate ligament, better known as torn ACL, is one of the most common injuries among athletes. The ACL is vital to the knee and stability, yet some people can function without it. ACL reconstruction requires a graft selection, meaning you would need to select replacement tissue from their own body or a donor. The patellar tendon and hamstring tendon are the most common for ACL reconstructive surgery,
8. Unicompartmental Knee Replacement
Unicompartmental knee replacement, also known as partial knee replacement, is an alternative for some people. People that have osteoarthritis are restricted to only one part of the knee. Therefore, the procedure requires a surgeon to replace only the injured part of the knee with replacements.
9. Full Knee Replacement
People with severe arthritis in the knees require a total knee replacement instead of a partial knee replacement.
10. Microfracture Surgery
A surgeon may perform microfracture surgery to repair damaged cartilage. Professional athletes have popularized this particular type of knee surgery. Microfracture surgery is an arthroscopic procedure in which a surgeon makes tiny bone holes, promoting an increased blood supply to spur cartilage growth and reconstruct damaged cartilage.
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- “Total Knee Replacement Techniques” via StatPearls
- “Total Knee Replacement” via Ontario Health Technology Assessment Series
- “Understanding the human knee and its relationship to total knee replacement” via Acta Biomedica