Recognized as a Top Knee Specialty Doctor in New Jersey
Our 5-Star concierge-trained staff was designed to guide each unique patient through questions, scheduling, insurance, and anything else needed to ensure the best possible experience for our patients.
Lorraine Stern, M.D., FAAOS
Dr. Lorraine Stern is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons as well as a member of the Orthopedic Trauma Association.
Dr. Stern also specializes in advanced Mako-Assisted Knee Replacements.
Frequently Asked Questions about Knee Arthritis
What is knee arthritis?
Knee arthritis occurs when the cartilage covering of your knee joint wears down. The cartilage is there to protect the bone and allow for smooth and pain free motion. When the cartilage is no longer present, the rough surfaces of the exposed bones rub against one another causing pain.
What symptoms might I be experiencing if I have knee arthritis?
Patients with knee arthritis typically experience pain in the knee joint when standing, walking or going up and down the stairs. You may feel that your knee feels swollen or stiff and find it difficult to participate in activities you once were able to do with ease. Some patients also experience a feeling that their knee is going to “give out.” You may also experience that when you move your knee a grinding noise or feeling occurs.
What causes knee arthritis?
Arthritis can be caused by many different things including older age, family history, prior injury to the knee joint, prior knee surgery and obesity. Often times there is no underlying cause that can be identified.
Are there any treatments for knee arthritis that do not involve surgery?
- Lifestyle modifications such as weight loss if you are overweight and switching to lower impact activities can lower stress across your knee joint
- Physical therapy to work on range of motion, stretching and strengthening
- Using a cane in the opposite arm to offload some of the force that is being transmitted through your knee (e.g. if your right knee hurts, use the cane in your left hand and vice versa)
- Tylenol or anti-inflammatory medications such as Motrin or Advil for pain relief (always speak with your primary care doctor before starting any medications)
- A cortisone injection into the knee joint can be done in the office to relieve pain
- Viscosupplementation (“gel shot”) injections into the knee joint can be done in the office to relieve pain
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a total knee replacement?
The damaged bone on the end of your femur (thigh) bone, top of your tibia (shin) bone and patella (kneecap) are removed and replaced with metal and plastic to restore the function of the knee joint. This is done using an incision on the front of your knee with the assistance of a robotic arm to help prepare the thigh and shin bones.
What is a total hip replacement?
The damaged bone of the ball and socket joint are removed and replaced with metal, plastic and sometimes ceramic to restore the function of the hip joint. This is done using an incision on the back of your hip and sometimes with the assistance of a robotic arm to help with preparation and placement of the new socket.
I may need a hip or knee replacement in the future, what can I do now to optimize my health?
See your primary care physician and discuss that you are planning to undergo surgery in the future to replace your hip. If you are a diabetic, having good control of your blood sugar will help decrease the risk of complications. If you are a smoker, stop smoking as soon as possible. Even one month without smoking will decrease the risk of complications. Work with your doctor to optimize your weight and nutrition as much as possible before surgery. If you have any dental work that needs to be done, make sure that you speak with your dentist to have this addressed prior to any joint replacement surgery.
When I decide to go forward with a joint replacement, what will be needed prior to surgery?
Before surgery you will need to see your primary care doctor for medical optimization. If you have any heart problems, you will also need to see your cardiologist and they may require further testing. You will need to go for blood work, and right before the date of the surgery, a COVID-19 test administered at the hospital. The hospital requires that all patients undergoing joint replacement attend a preparatory class. Please see below for the links to get started. In the days leading up to surgery, you will be asked to use a special ointment in your nose and to bathe with a special soap to help decrease the risk of infection.
What can I expect the day of surgery?
You will meet the anesthesiologist in the pre-operative area. They will review your medical record and discuss the anesthesia that will be used for the procedure. Typically, joint replacement is done with regional anesthesia and sedation. This will allow you to hopefully avoid the side effects of general anesthesia and allow you to begin to participate in physical therapy hours after your surgery, sometimes even in the recovery room!
How long will I need to stay in the hospital?
Most patients are able to go home the next day with the assistance of home care services. In the hospital you will receive several sessions of physical therapy and they will go over with you any special restrictions you might have after surgery.
What can I expect in my recovery after surgery?
You will need to have extensive physical therapy after your surgery to ensure the best possible outcome in being able to return to your activities. This will start in the hospital, continue at home with home therapy for some and then finally progress to outpatient physical therapy where you will work on regaining motion, strength, flexibility and gait (walking). Most patients can expect to be involved with therapy for at least 3-6 months after their surgery.
Will I have any restrictions after surgery?
Patients who have a total hip replacement will need to abide by certain precautions after surgery to ensure that the joint remains stable and does not dislocate. This risk is highest in the first 6 weeks after surgery and diminishes over time. Your dentist will need to be informed of your joint replacement surgery so that you can be given antibiotics if deemed appropriate before dental work.
To learn more about a condition or procedure, visit our treatment library page.