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What Is Best - Knee Injections Or Knee Replacement?

Written and reviewed by
MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Diploma In Orthopaedics (D. Ortho)
Orthopedic Doctor, Bangalore  •  10 years experience
What Is Best - Knee Injections Or Knee Replacement?

What is best: Knee injections or knee replacement?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can cause problems with the knees. Treatments for this include injections into the knee and replacing tissue in the knee.

Which is best for treating #osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition that causes the breakdown of cartilage between the joints. Cartilage serves as a cushion for joints and protects the surface of the bones. Without this cushion, bones can rub or grind together, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling.

The following are knee injection therapy options:

1. Hyaluronic acid supplements, or viscosupplementation

  • These are also known as gel injections. During treatment, a substance called hyaluronic acid is injected directly into the knee joint to add to the quantities of this acid naturally present the body.
  • In functional joints, this fluid acts as a lubricant or shock absorber, helping the joints to work properly.
  • People with OA seem to experience a breakdown in hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid injections can help to lessen joint pain as well as inflammation.

2. Corticosteroid injections

Steroid injection will reduce inflammation and pain. It is important to note that the effects of the shot are temporary along with more adverse effects. Recent studies say that Corticosteroid injections have no much role in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

3. Platelet-rich plasma ( PRP) injections

  • PRP injections are a possible future treatment for osteoarthritis.
  • Research is underway on the use of PRP as another option for knee injections, although it is most effective for treating chronic tendon injuries, such as tennis elbow.
  • PRP makes use of the healing and regrowth capabilities of platelets in the blood. These are dispatched by the immune system whenever wounds or injuries occur to clot the wound and trigger the healing process.
  • Doctors can administer PRP injections straight into the affected tissue. At present, PRP is only used for knee injections on an experimental basis.

4. Stem cell injections

  • Stem cell injections are another potentially promising treatment for knee arthritis that could prevent the need for a knee replacement.
  • A stem cell is one that can be grown into a specific type of tissue or organ. In injection form, these are withdrawn from the bone marrow alongside cartilage tissue and injected back into the affected area.
  • It is not currently known whether stem cell injections will cure osteoarthritis or simply delay the need for a knee replacement.

Knee replacement therapy

  • Though corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid supplements can control pain and inflammation efficiently, they often provide only temporary relief. As OA progresses, mobility and quality of life may get worse, leaving a knee replacement as the only option.
  • A doctor will likely recommend knee replacement surgery once all other treatment options such as physical therapy and injections have been tried.
  • A knee replacement is also referred to as knee arthroplasty or knee resurfacing because only the surface of the bones is replaced. The surgeon will cut away damaged bone and cartilage from the shinbone and kneecap, and then replace it with an artificial joint.
  • During a total knee replacement, the damaged knee joint is removed and replaced with a prosthesis made out of metal, ceramic, or high-grade plastic, as well as polymer components.
  • Knee replacement surgery is a last resort for osteoarthritis.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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