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Childhood Knee Replacement

Childhood Knee ReplacementAlthough replacement is commonly considered a procedure done on older people, sometimes a child’s knee must be replaced. Before suggesting this option, your child’s physician will likely attempt other treatments, because total joint replacement can be complicated in a child, and the knee will likely need to be replaced again. When it is necessary, however, a knee replacement can provide benefits that other treatment methods don’t achieve.


The underlying reason that necessitates a childhood knee replacement is either an injury or a degenerative disease that destroys the knee to the point where the child cannot walk properly or experiences extreme pain when he’s moving the knee. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is one condition that may lead to knee problems requiring total replacement. Cancerous tumors in the knee can also degenerate the knee to the point of requiring replacement. In some cases, a traumatic injury to the knee may destroy the joint, making replacement necessary.


In a total knee replacement, a portion or all of the patella, the kneecap bone, is removed, along with parts of the ends of the leg bones that meet at the knee. These bones are then either reinforced with metal and plastic parts and replaced inside the knee, or a completely artificial bone is created and placed in the spot where the original once was.


In most cases, total knee replacement in a child results in a significant decrease in pain caused by the knee problem. There may be a long period of recovery in which the child must undergo physical therapy to regain full use of her knee and leg. Once this is complete, however, the child may see a fuller range of motion in the knee. A childhood knee replacement doesn’t last forever, though. An artificial knee usually lasts only 10 to 15 years before it needs to be replaced.


Because childhood knee replacement is not a permanent solution, it is considered a last resort for many childhood knee problems. Knee braces, medication and injections may all be tried before the last resort of knee replacement. A partial knee replacement, in which only a part of one knee or leg bone is replaced, may be an alternative in some cases. In all knee replacement procedures, the surgeon must consider the future bone growth of the child and take this into account in the design of the prosthetic bone. The surgeon should also minimize the amount of bone removed to allow for growth that’s as naturally as possible.


Article reviewed by Amy Richards Last updated on: Oct 31, 2011

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/550530-childhood-knee-replacement/#ixzz1coWO5mLj