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The Knees Have It: February 22, 2014

The knees have it, hands down, when it comes to damaged joints.

“We see more knee problems than any other joint. Primarily because it’s our main joint with locomotion,” says Dr. John Kagan, orthopedic surgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

Nearly three-quarters of a million Americans each year undergo a total knee replacement. It’s generally due to a combination of factors including genetics, trauma and plain old wear and tear.

“I think we see more knee problems because we’ve remained more active for a longer period of time. Obviously if you are active you run the risk of having an injury,”says Dr. Kagan.

Arthritis is a top cause of joint surgery. As cartilage wears away- the joint loses its shock absorber. The result is the painful bone on bone rubbing. This process can be accelerated if you throw in an injury - or slowed down if you get treatment early on.

“A lot of patients come in our office with what I consider to be knee problems like torn menisci, torn cartilage, or ligament injuries but we’re able to treat those and repair those so they don’t develop the arthritic process,” says Dr. Kagan.

For many people, joint surgery is their last, best option. even so advanced techniques provide patients with choices.

“We try to utilize techniques such as arthroscopic surgery or partial knee resurfacing, so that we save their ligaments, we save the un-involved parts of their joints and we only resurface that part of the joint that’s actually damaged,” says Dr. Kagan.

The goal is to relieve pain and keep people functional - so their knees don’t get them down.