Many of Dr. Joe DiCicco's patients who've been told they need a knee replacement are pleasantly surprised when he says, "Not so fast – there are 10 other things we can try first."
Dr. DiCicco said patients appreciate keeping their knees as long as they can, which is his goal. About 90 percent of the time, patients can benefit from other treatment options first, he said. And that's why his patients tend to be older when they finally have replacement surgery, because they can no longer get enough pain relief to maintain their lifestyle and activity level.
"I do a lot of total knee replacements – and they work – but every patient of mine knows they have no other option left because we've exhausted every other conservative option," he explained.
Some of these options include physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, pain creams, pain medication, bracing and cortisone injections. "Synthetic cartilage injections have an 85 percent success rate, which is pretty reasonable," he said.
Another option is arthroscopy, a 20- or 30-minute procedure performed on a patient under local anesthesia with sedation. "It cleans out the knee –trimming meniscal tears, repairs torn cartilage, removes loose bodies – without getting terribly aggressive, and it can be done two or three times in 10 years," he said. "It's another way to buy time."
If you have knee pain and would like to explore the options for conservative treatments, make an appointment with Dr. DiCicco who can discuss potential options. "Conservative treatment should be No. 1 in everyone's mind," he said.
Dr. DiCicco is a board certified orthopedic surgeon with Orthopedic Associates of SW Ohio. We have multiple offices located throughout the Miami Valley region to provide convenient, high quality, orthopedic care to the community.