Knee manipulation under anesthesia refers to the practice of putting a patient to sleep in order to manipulate the knee to promote proper flexing and functionality. This practice is typical for patients who have had knee replacement surgery and who have not yet obtained full and proper or expected function within 8 weeks after their initial operation.
Knee manipulation surgery is performed by an orthopedic surgeon. During this procedure, a patient is either under anesthesia or epidural. The heel of the patient is often held by a nurse, while the surgeon extends and flexes the joint until the knee flexes more freely. This knee manipulation would probably be very painful if the patient wasn’t under anesthesia or given an epidural.
Knee manipulation under anesthesia serves another purpose besides improving mobility. The post operative scar tissue associated with knee replacement surgery is torn away during this procedure, improving flexibility. Knee manipulation is not normally recommended however, until the patient has gone through physical therapy and other available options first.
Knee manipulation under anesthesia is a controversial topic as its use was largely abandoned, followed by a resurfacing in the 1980s. Chiropractors and doctors have long debated as to its effectiveness and usefulness in patients. But for patients still missing an adequate range, pain after exercise or other symptoms following knee replacement surgery, the technique can be beneficial if conventional treatments have failed. While the treatment is sometimes covered under insurance, in cases where it is not it can be very expensive. Depending on the state you live in, and the amount of available practitioners available, your cost can range from one thousand dollars per treatment, to twenty thousand dollars for three days of therapy.
From common knee clicking to a full knee replacement, the knee can produce problems of all shapes and sizes. If you have had a knee replacement and conventional therapy has proven ineffective to return your full or expected range of motion, knee manipulation might be an option for you. Speaking to your health care provider not only about knee manipulation but also about conventional therapy and why it might not be working, is a critical first step in determining if this method is right for you.