Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mars, Venus, and Painful Knees



There is no question that men and women are built differently in many ways.  This premise extends to our knees and how orthopedic surgeons treat their pain. 

Knee arthritis continues to be a growing epidemic in our patient population at St. Peters Bone & Joint.  We’re not alone in this.  Across the nation total knee replacement is one of the fastest growing operations with nearly 600,000 performed per year. 

Knee arthritis is the gradual loss of cartilage (the smooth tissue lining the knee joint) over time that eventually causes pain, loss of motion, and abnormal alignment of the knee joint.

Interestingly, women undergo about 2 out of 3 of the total knee replacements performed in the United States.  Even then, good data shows that women often wait longer, or even go without knee replacement, when compared to men with the same level of arthritis.  One study showed that the degree of underuse for joint replacement was seen in both sexes, but underuse was three times greater in women than men!   This often means progressive pain and loss of function before treatment is provided.
Furthermore, men and women’s anatomy is different.  For example, the width and thickness of the knee is less in women than in men.  In addition, many women are knock-kneed and many men are bow-legged (valgus and varus respectively).  These differences require the surgeon to perform the surgery differently in each case to obtain good alignment and good results.

Dr. McAllister, Dr. Spezia, and Dr. Glueck all specialize in performing total knee replacements for both men and women at St. Peters Bone and Joint.  So, whether you’re from Mars or Venus, if you have progressive knee pain and arthritis we’d appreciate the opportunity to treat your knees and get you moving again!
Improving Patient’s Pathway to Recovery
St. Peters Bone and Joint Surgeons Standardize Pain Control Protocol
for Their Total Knee Replacement Patients
St. Peters Bone and Joint is constantly striving to improve our patients’ satisfaction and outcomes.  As noted in the previous article, total knee replacements are on the rise in the U.S. and right here in St. Charles County. 

Drs. Glueck, McAllister, and Spezia specialize in total knee replacement.  We’ve worked together to combine the best techniques and the most recent literature to minimize the patient’s pain and maximize their function.  We’ve also working with the staff at Barnes St. Peters Hospital and Progress West Hospital to implement the program within the hospital system.

The protocol includes decreasing pain through different methods such as:  nerve blocks, inserting numbing medication in the knee during the surgery, and utilizing different types of medication such as anti-inflammatories in combination more typical pain medications.  In addition to employing different methods for pain control, the surgeons also implement these methods throughout the process.  This means that patients typical receive the medications before, during, and after the surgery.  This has shown to provide a big benefit in improving patients’ pain as compared to older methods that only gave pain medicine after the surgery, when the pain cycle was already underway and more difficult to control. 

Many of our recent patients that had a similar procedure performed elsewhere years ago have commented on how quickly they’ve recovered and how happy they are with the current protocol and our approach to their recovery process.

We look forward to working with you to decrease your pain and improve your function through our state-of-the-art total knee pathway to recovery.

Written by Dane Glueck, MD

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