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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I'm 31-years old and overweight with severe knee osteoarthritis. The surgeon tells me I'm too young for a knee replacement. I can hardly walk as it is. My next step is probably going to be a wheelchair. Can I do anything to avoid this?

There may be a couple things you can do. Seeing a primary care physician who can manage all your health needs may be the place to start. If you have tried to lose weight without success, you may be a good candidate for bariatric surgery. Stomach stapling or bypass has helped many overweight people in danger of losing daily functions such as standing and walking.

At the same time, you may benefit from medications, exercises, or physical therapy. These are standard first-line treatments for osteoarthritis (OA). Some patients who are too young for joint replacement are trying an alternative treatment called electrical stimulation (E-stim).

With E-stim, an electric current is delivered to the knee joint through skin surface electrodes. One study from Sinai Hospital in Baltimore has been done to show that E-stim can help patients delay knee replacement up to four years. Patients who are too young, too old, or obese are the best candidates for E-stim.

If all these conservative measures fail, there are a variety of surgical procedures to consider. A partial or total joint replacement is the most invasive approach. Modern implants are much improved now and expected to last up to 15 years. Some patients have as many as four implants over their years of their lifetime.

There are many options for you to consider. Finding the right doctor to help you manage your overall health is the first step.


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