Knee surgeons are doctors who specialize in conditions that affect the knee. Knee surgeons can be medical doctors, meaning they have an M.D., or they can be doctors of osteopathic medicine, meaning they have a D.O. Both degree titles require the same certifications and and post-medical school training to specialize in knee surgery.
After completing medical school, doctors who aim to become knee surgeons must graduate from an orthopedic surgery residency program. Specialization in knee surgery requires an additional year or more of fellowship training after completing surgical residency.
Conditions treated by orthopedic surgeons specializing in knee surgery vary. Knee conditions may be congenital, meaning they were present at birth, or they may be due to trauma, tumors, or infections. Conditions may also be degenerative, meaning that they cause the structures they affect to gradually deteriorate or break down over time. Osteoarthritis of the knee, inflammatory or rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis of the knee are all examples of conditions that are degenerative. The gradual degeneration of joints and other structures can occur due to gradual wear-and-tear or aging, but it can also occur due to genetics, unhealthy lifestyle choices, repetitive motions or overuse.
Other conditions treated by knee surgeons can include disorders that affect blood circulation, like osteonecrosis, as well as congenital conditions, like congenital dislocation or dysplasia.
Common procedures performed by orthopedic surgeons specializing in knee surgery include knee arthroscopy for diagnosis or treatment, total joint replacement, joint preservation, partial joint replacement, and others. Knee specialists may use arthroscopic or other image guided approaches to procedures like arthroplasty or artificial joint replacements, repair, or reconstruction, when available. While a wide variety of treatment options are available for knee conditions, not all patients are proper candidates for all procedures, like minimally invasive procedures.
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