Three Alternative Procedures to Knee Replacement Therapy

The knee can sustain extensive damage due to different medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, necrosis, injury or trauma, rheumatoid arthritis and general deformity. If your mobility is compromised due to the joint damage and the pain is excruciating, your doctor may recommend knee replacement surgery. As implied, this is a procedure in which the worn and diseased knee is removed and an artificial alternative is inserted. This process allows mobility to be restored, and it is a long-term solution. On the other hand, knee replacement is a major surgery, so the doctor might recommend alternatives, depending on your specific circumstances. Here is a short description of the common alternatives to replacement.

Arthroscopic Debridement

Arthroscopic debridement is a process which involves the removal of damaged bone and cartilage from the knee area. In general, the surgeon will insert special instruments into the joint and perform lavage or a washout using saline. This will remove all the debris, and if there are fragments remaining after this joint lavage, they will be eliminated. The effectiveness of the procedure can vary widely for different patients, depending on the extent of damage. Ideally, debridement should be performed on patients with issues such as mechanical locking of the knee as opposed to those with general symptomatic osteoarthritis.

Osteotomy Procedure

When the bones in your knee and the leg do not line up properly, osteoarthritis might develop. This condition often leads to extra strain and stress on one side of the knee, either the outer or the inner side. Eventually, the pressure will cause the protective cartilage in the knee to wear away. If you have this type of problem, the pain and stiffness can be extreme. The osteotomy procedure involves cutting and reshaping the affected bone in the knee joint. This will relieve the pressure and consequently, you will experience pain relief and mobility will be restored. An osteotomy can prolong the life of your natural knee and delay the need for replacement. However, this procedure cannot be used for be used in resolving misalignment.


Disorders of the knee cartilage can compromise the function of the joint. In simple terms, if the defects are not treated, the cartilage will wear away, and the eventual degeneration can lead to complete disability. Mosaicplasty is an important operation which involves harvesting some hard cartilage and bone from another part of the knee with minimal weight-bearing requirements. This is then transferred to the affected area to restore mobility.

You should discuss all therapy options with your doctor before beginning any treatment regime.