Generally, all the parts of the knee joint work together and joints move easily. However, medical conditions like Arthritis, or severe injury can disturb the normal functioning of the knee joint resulting in knee pain, muscle weakness, and limited movement.
Knee replacement, also called Arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to resurface a knee damaged by arthritis to relieve pain that cannot be controlled by other treatments. Unilateral knee replacement refers to the surgery of only one knee of either legs.
Knee joint can be affected by various types of arthritis, such as: Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that affects mostly middle-aged and older adults, may cause the breakdown of joint cartilage and adjacent bone in the knees. Rheumatoid arthritis, which causes inflammation of the synovial membrane and results in excessive synovial fluid, can lead to pain and stiffness. Traumatic arthritis, caused due to an injury in which knee cartilage is damaged.
PREPARING FOR THE SURGERY
Before finalising the surgery, doctor will explain the procedure to you and decide the type of implants to be used. In addition to a complete medical history, you will have to undergo physical examination, blood tests and other diagnostic tests to ensure you are in good health and no other medical condition exists which can lead to complications. Also, if you are taking any anticoagulants (blood-thinning) medications, or other supplements that can affect blood clotting, may need to be stopped before the surgery.
If you are overweight, then doctor will advise you to get in better shape through exercise and become physically fit before the surgery, which will help in faster-recovery. You will be advised to stop eating or drinking for eight hours before the procedure, generally after midnight.
ON THE DAY OF SURGERY
Knee replacement surgery is mostly performed under general anaesthesia; means you will be unconscious or asleep during the surgery. But sometimes, regional or spinal anaesthesia is used in which you can’t feel the area of the surgery but you are awake.
The anaesthesiologist will continuously monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and blood oxygen level during the surgery. Surgeon will make an incision in the knee area and remove the damaged surfaces of the knee joint and resurface the knee joint with the prosthesis (implant). The knee prosthesis is made up of metal and plastic. The most common type of artificial knee prosthesis is a cemented prosthesis. Uncemented prosthesis are not commonly used anymore. Sometimes, a combination of the 2 types is used to replace a knee. The incision will be closed with stitches or surgical staples. After closing the incision, surgeon will bend and rotate your knee, testing it to ensure proper function. The surgery lasts for about two hours.
Knee replacement surgery usually requires an in-hospital stay of 3-4 days. After the surgery you will be kept under observation and monitored closely till your blood pressure, pulse rate and breathing becomes normal and you are fully alert. After which you will be shifted to hospital room and a physiotherapist will plan an exercise program for you for faster recovery. Within the first 24 hours, physiotherapist will help you to stand and walk using an assistive device (crutch, walker etc.)
Your pain will be controlled with medication so that you can participate in the exercise. You will be advised to continue physical therapy until you regain muscle strength and good range of motion. At discharge, your doctor and physiotherapist will make sure you will be able to bend your knee well, preferably to a minimum of a 90-degree angle and minimally rely on an assistive device.
Recovery time can vary depending on the individual’s physical fitness and condition. Aftercare and physiotherapy play a major role in recovery after knee replacement surgery. With proper care and exercises, you should be able to stop using your crutches or walker and resume normal activities of daily living by six weeks after the surgery. However, it may take up to three months for pain and swelling to settle down. It can take up to a year for any leg swelling to disappear.
The exercise plan your physiotherapist gives you is an important part of your recovery. It’s essential you continue with them once you’re at home. Your rehabilitation will be monitored by a physiotherapist.
Let EasyCure help you
Q: Is Knee replacement surgery painful?
A: Post-surgery you may feel mild to moderate pain which will be managed by pain relieving medicines. Knee replacement will help in reducing the pain you had because of damaged knee.
Q: What is the suitable age to undergo knee replacement?
A: There is no fixed age group to have knee replacement surgery done, it is done on the basis of a person’s pain and disability. On an average most people who undergo knee replacement surgery are between 50-80 years of age.
Q: For how long I will need to use walkers after knee replacement surgery?
A: For about one to three weeks. Regular exercise is necessary to recover fast.
Q: What is the success rate of Knee replacement surgery?
A: Success rate for knee replacement surgery is very high with 9 out of 10 people experiencing immediate pain relief and 95% reporting satisfaction with the procedure.
Q: For how long does a knee implant lasts?
A: About 90% of the implants last for 10 years and 80% remain in good condition even after 20 years. It is recommended to discuss about different kind of implants with your doctor before the surgery.
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