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I am going to have to replace both knees. My doctor has recommened one knee at a time. I have talked to several individuals that have had both knees replaced and highly recommend having them both done at the same. My goal is to get back to my activities as soon as possible. I weight 145 lbs and I am in good shape and have a positive outlook toward rehab. What is the current thinking on this issue?
-- John Luten (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 19, 2001
The question of bilateral versus unilateral versus staged bilateral total knee replacement is one that has been debated somewhat in recent years. I think the consensus opinion at the present time is that bilateral total knee replacement carries a slightly higher risk of morbidity and mortality than doing one knee at a time. However, patients with severe bilateral knee arthritis are generally willing to take the slight increase in risk for the benefit of only having to go through physical therapy and rehabilitation once. In short, it seems for some patients the added risk is outweighed by the added benefit. In other patients, the added risk is not warranted. Therefore, the decision to do both knees at the same time versus one knee at a time three months apart is a decision which needs to be made between the surgeon and the patient taking into consideration the patient's needs and the patient's health status. I hope this helps.
-- Marc W. Hungerford, M.D. (email@example.com), August 13, 2001.