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Your Healthcare Team
As you seek treatment for Knee Osteoarthritis, you will come into contact with a variety of Healthcare Professionals including a General Practitioner (GP) and a Physiotherapist. When you decide to proceed with knee replacement surgery, you will also come into contact with other healthcare team members including an Orthopaedic Surgeon, Nurses and an Anaesthetist.
Discover what kind of services each of these healthcare team members offer below.
The medical professional you see for common medical issues such as your annual check-up or a non-emergency illness is referred to as a General Practitioner. Your GP will guide you in non-surgical treatments for Osteoarthritis. Depending upon the type and severity of your osteoarthritis, your GP may refer you to a specialist such as an Orthopaedic Surgeon, a Rheumatologist or a Sports Medicine Specialist for further treatment.
A Physiotherapist is a medical professional who can help you recover from injury, reduce pain and stiffness and increase mobility. They typically work in a team along with a GP and other medical professionals to assess the level of your osteoarthritis and help formulate a treatment plan that considers your lifestyle, activities and general health. Treatment plans can include exercise programs to improve your mobility and strengthen your muscles, joint manipulation and mobilisation to reduce your pain and stiffness as well as muscle re-education to improve your control.1
An Orthopaedic Surgeon is a medical doctor with extensive training treating injuries and conditions of the musculoskeletal system including the bones, joints and muscles in the body. This specialist may recommend treatment of your Knee Osteoarthritis with physiotherapy, various medications or devices, or with surgical procedures including total knee replacements, partial/unicompartmental knee replacements, revision of total knee replacements or bilateral knee replacements.
An Anaesthetist is a medical professional who administers a form of anaesthetic prior to surgery to remove the natural response to pain. The role of an Anaesthetist is to inform you about the type of anaesthetic appropriate for your type of knee surgery, whether a medication will be given prior to the anaesthetic to prevent nausea, reduce stomach acid or help you relax, and how pain will be managed post-surgery. Besides this, the Anaesthetist will remain present for the entire duration of your knee surgery to ensure that there are no life-threatening reactions to the administered anaesthetic.
Nurses play an important role in the operating theatre. They are responsible for preparing you for surgery and ensuring all the necessary instruments and equipment are available and ready. During surgery, nurses work closely with your orthopaedic surgeon to ensure a smooth operation. They are required to be one step ahead of the surgeon at all times as they hand them the next instrument along the workflow. Nurses are required to stay up to date with new instruments, techniques and products that may be used by the many orthopaedic surgeons with whom they work.
Sports Medicine Specialist
A physician who specialises in the prevention, evaluation and treatment of injuries related to sports and exercise is called a Sports Medicine Specialist. Though perceived to just treat athletes, a Sports Medicine Specialist is able to treat other patients as well. A Sports Medicine Specialist may recommend treatment of your knee pain with physical therapy, various medications or devices, or surgical procedures including arthroscopy and joint replacement. If it is believed surgery is needed to correct your condition, you may be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon for further evaluation.
A medical doctor who diagnoses and treats both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other disorders of the bones, joints, ligaments and muscles is known as a Rheumatologist. A Rheumatologist may recommend treatment of your knee pain with medication, physical therapy or steroid injections. If it is believed surgery is needed to correct a problem, you may be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon for further evaluation.
- Australian Physiotherapy Association. 2021. What Is Physio?. [ONLINE] Available at: What Is Physio? [Accessed 2 June 2021].
This information is intended for residents of Australia only.
The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always talk to your doctor before you make decisions about your health.
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