When Should You Get Joint Replacement Surgery Versus Regenerative or Non-Surgical Treatments?

April 18, 2021

There are more than a few downsides to invasive orthopaedic surgeries.

  •         They can be expensive
  •         May increase a patient’s risk for things like infections, clotting or heart attacks
  •         Might increase the likelihood of arthritis in the future (like after knee surgery to repair a torn ACL)
  •         Require long, sometimes painful rehabilitation and recovery periods
  •         May put you out of commission for months

Injections carry fewer risks but are not entirely risk free. Overuse of cortisone injections and NSAIDs may accelerate joint cartilage loss in some patients. NSAIDs also increase a patient’s risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Cortisone injections also elevate a patient’s sugar levels, which can be problematic for patients with certain preexisting conditions. They may also increase infection risk.


Every Patient Is Different

At Non-Surgical Orthopaedics, we don’t perform invasive ligament repair or joint replacement, but we do offer an array of pain management and regenerative medicine injections. We will never tell a patient not to get a surgery if we honestly believe surgery is the best course of action. However, there are many scenarios where a patient’s condition could be managed or improved without going under the knife.

Utilizing alternative treatments like regenerative medicine, when they’re appropriate, allows patients to avoid some of the complications frequently associated with invasive surgical procedure.


Serious Injuries May Require Orthopaedic Surgery

Severe traumatic injuries may require surgery. Pain management injections or regenerative medicine treatments can’t realign broken bones and joints or sew together severed and torn tendons. However, patients who have suffered severe auto accident or sport injuries that require surgery may have regenerative medicine and pain management prescribed in conjunction with surgical procedures.

Regenerative medicine can potentially improve healing results or increase the speed of healing. Some regenerative injections may also help people who have suffered catastrophic injuries regain a fuller range of motion.


Joint Replacement Surgery

Some people may have degenerative conditions, repetitive stress injuries or age-related damage to joints that can’t be adequately restored or treated using regenerative treatments. A patient’s orthopaedic team may attempt regenerative or pain management treatments first and then decide on whether to recommend surgery based on the results of those less-invasive treatment methods.

A patient may be able to put off a total joint replacement surgery for five years, ten years or longer with the right pain management and regenerative medicine treatment plan.

If you’re struggling with chronic joint pain, back pain or limited mobility, you should speak with your doctor. Don’t let the fear of surgery stop you from getting the relief you need. It’s likely there are alternative regenerative treatment options.


Age May Influence a Doctor’s Orthopaedic Treatment Recommendation

A recent study suggests we may see a 183 percent increase in total knee arthroplasty for patients younger than 65 by 2030. The study’s authors discovered younger patients are opting for TKA surgery more frequently and had reoperation and component revision surgery nearly twice as often as patients over 65.

The cause of this trend was attributed in part to orthopaedic surgeons more aggressively recommending invasive surgeries to younger patients.

The authors also suspected the higher rate of revision surgeries could be due to poorer lifestyle choices in some of the younger patients, like obesity, smoking and lower activity levels.


Have You Exhausted All Your Other Options?

Most surgeons recommend joint replacement for degenerative arthritis after less invasive orthopaedic treatments have been exhausted. You may be able to manage pain and retain or improve joint mobility for years or even decades by utilizing regenerative medicine and a variety of pain management injections.

Patients seriously considering joint replacement surgery should have a frank and honest discussion with their doctors about the reliability and risks of those procedures.

The replacement joint technology and surgical methods used today are far more reliable than past iterations, but they’re not perfect. Replacement joints can still loosen, stiffen or lead to infections. Even joint replacement surgeries that work won’t last forever and will require replacement 10 or more years in the future.

Joint revision surgeries require the patient to go through the same rehabilitative process they went through for their first procedure. Fear of discomfort or inconvenience shouldn’t prevent you from getting a surgery when it’s necessary, but it is worth exploring your other treatment options before resorting to orthopaedic surgery.


Learn About Your Options from Non-Surgical Orthopaedics

The team of board-certified orthopaedic and pain management specialists at Non-Surgical Orthopaedics in Marietta and Carrollton are committed to providing unbiased, honest advice to patients who want to learn about their regenerative and pain management options.

We appreciate the reluctance of many patients who would prefer to avoid undergoing an invasive surgical procedure. That’s why we’ve brought some of the latest and most effective regenerative joint injury treatments currently available to our Georgia patients.

Schedule a consultation or learn about referrals by calling us at 770-421-1420.