Imagine being able to determine whether your knee replacement operation would work before you undergo the procedure. According to British researchers, there could be a genetic test that can precisely do just that.
In a global first, researchers have discovered DNA samples found in the blood and saliva, that are connected to an adverse reaction to the materials found in most joint implants.
So, what does this mean for patients, and could a genetic test prevent you from undergoing a surgery that is set to fail?
New test could identify patients likely to have an adverse reaction
While thousands of people undergo successful knee replacement procedures each year, some of them do fail. It is estimated that around 15% of Brits have genetic characteristics that cause the immune system to attack the tissue around the new joint. It is very similar to the way organ transplants fail.
Now thanks to the latest research, experts have a greater understanding of what makes some joints fail. However, the new test being developed won’t be rolled out for at least a couple of years.
A trial was conducted including over 600 patients who had undergone a knee replacement procedure in the past 10 years. They were tested using blood tests and saliva swabs. A computer was then used to assess the data and identify patients who had experienced complications. It revealed that those who did suffer complications had specific genes.
They are now hoping the test will be able to help those patients avoid unnecessary repeat procedures. It will also give patients more choice over the type of implant they have. The findings of the study were published in Nature Communications Medicine, and it was led by researchers from the Newcastle University.
Common risk factors for knee surgery
For patients and healthcare providers to make the right choice over knee replacement surgery, common risk factors do need to be considered. They include:
These are a small selection of the risk factors associated with knee surgery. Older patients are more at risk of suffering adverse reactions from surgery, as are those who are obese. However, each patient’s individual risk is different, making it crucial to undergo an initial assessment prior to the surgery.
Alongside the possibility of the knee replacement failing, there are other potential risks involved with the surgery too. These include infection, issues with anaesthetic, nerve damage, and long-term knee stiffness. However, generally speaking, the procedure is safe and effective.
If you need to undergo a knee replacement surgery and you are worried about the risks involved, book a consultation with Mr Webb today. He will assess your individual risk and create a treatment plan that takes them into account.