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Dangers and Risks of Putting Off Knee Replacement Surgery

Even though most people understand the reward that usually comes after knee replacement surgery —reduced pain, greater range of motion and an increased quality of life — many who need the procedure still delay having it done.

Patients often delay knee replacement surgery because of fear of the procedure or concerns about the recovery process. Interestingly, while many people worry about what could possibly happen if they undergo knee replacement surgery, fewer stop to think about what will likely happen if they wait:

  • Increased knee pain
  • Further damage to the joint
  • Reduced mobility and ability to use the knee

Continuing to delay knee replacement surgery can bring about serious consequences, such as the inability to walk, work and perform normal daily tasks.

Knee Replacement Surgery May Be More Complex the Longer You Wait

The longer a patient waits to have knee surgery, the more complicated the surgery can become. Here are some ways the procedure can become more complex when a person delays knee replacement surgery:

  • The knee may become deformed and therefore harder to replace
  • The surgical procedure can take longer
  • Kneecap resurfacing may be required
  • Options may become more limited. For instance, early on, a patient may only need a “partial” knee replacement, but if they wait, they may need “total” knee replacement — which is a more complex procedure.

Delaying Knee Replacement Surgery May Diminish Health

Patients who are relatively healthy when they have a knee replaced are more likely to recover sooner. The longer patients wait and allow their knee issues to affect them, the more it impacts overall health. For instance, an inability to walk without pain may lead to avoidance of exercise and weight gain which will put even more pressure on the painful knee.

Make a Knee Replacement Surgery Appointment

So, what’s the smart choice? If you are experiencing knee pain, make an appointment with your doctor and find out if knee replacement surgery or another type of treatment is right for you. Knee replacement may not be the only option, and there may be a different therapy such as a cortisone injection or medication that can help.

Most patients who have had knee replacement surgery not only report positive outcomes including reduced pain or complete freedom from knee pain, many say they would have had knee replacement surgery sooner.  

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