Let’s Talk About Knee Pain Problems & Total Knee Replacement

August 2, 2016


Dr Chin Pak Lin was on Channel 5’s health show, Body & Soul, to talk about arthritis, knee pain problems and total knee replacement. The knee is one of the most complex joint in our body and can suffer from various problems, especially arthritis.


Deciphering the Knee Pain Problems Bothering Celebrity Guests

Celebrity guests Michelle Huang, 938Live DJ, and Peter Huang, MiCapella singer, were invited to the show. Dr Chin explored the guests’ knee pain problems in detail and gave possible treatment advice. For Michelle, her knee pain problem stems from knee instability. Such problems should be brought to medical attention if there is pain even when getting out of bed or walking. The knee can be stabilized through ligament reconstruction surgery.

Whilst Peter has two types of knee injuries, the meniscus injury and cartilage tear. Dr Chin advised him to seek meniscus repair treatment early at his current younger age. This would increase the possibility of restoring the full shock-absorbing capabilities of the knee. As for the cartilage tear, early treatment is also crucial to prevent onset of arthritis. Cartilage regeneration techniques for treatment include microfracture.

Dr Chin explained that if the knee problems of both guests are not treated or properly managed, they could end up with a full-blown knee arthritis that brings pain and stiffness to the knee. The good news, however, is that total knee replacement technique now easily provides good treatment outcome.


Total Knee Replacement Procedures

There are primarily two approaches to a total knee replacement: conventional (or traditional) and computer-assisted.

Robotic Surgery RoboDoc

Dr Chin first demonstrated the conventional technique with Peter’s assistance. The traditional technique requires use of alignment rods and pins to have the leg in place. The knee surgeon will then have to manually cut the patient’s bone with an electric bone saw for the metal implant’s placement. This increases the imprecision of the surgery due to human error.

On the other hand, the computer-assisted technique removes the error from human using a robotic arm system called Robodoc. The orthopaedic surgeon will first do a 3D mapping of the knee with CT scan. The images will be used to teach the robotic arm how to perform the surgery. The robotic miller would be the one doing actual reshaping of the knee bone instead of the surgeon. The surgeon will instead be alongside supervising Robodoc during the surgery.


Recovery from Computer-Assisted Total Knee Replacement

Patients can expect a quick recovery from the computer-assisted total knee replacement. Most patients can walk a little two days after the surgery and be discharged by the fifth day. Within a month, they will be able to resume activities with some assistance. Patients can also go back to sports within 3 months.


Q&A on Knee Pain Problems

After the surgery demonstration, Dr Chin proceeded to answer a few questions on knee pain problems:

My mum complains of knee pain, which gets worse in aircon room. Does the cold really affect her knees?

There is no conclusive proof that the weather will affect arthritis. It is likely due to the temperature differences that causes our muscles to contract and aggravate the symptoms.

Can there be a relapse after knee replacement?

If it is a total knee replacement, you will not have any relapse after the surgery as the metal implants have replaced all cartilage.

My knee makes a “clicking” sound whenever I climb stairs and stand up or sit down. Do I need to see a doctor?

Yes, if the sound is accompanied by pain as well. The pain is usually symptomatic of some form of malalignment or ligament instability. The knee pain problem may lead to greater wear and tear, which eventually results in arthritis.


If you like to learn more about knee pain problems and total knee replacement, you can view the full Body And Soul episode or contact our clinic.