Knee replacement is a surgical procedure to replace the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee joint to relieve pain and disability.
To diagnose your condition, an orthopedic surgeon will perform a thorough examination of your knee, analyze X-rays, and conduct physical tests.
You will be asked to describe your pain, if you suffer from other joint pain, and if you have endured past injuries that may have affected your current knee condition.
Why do you need Knee replacement or what are the symptoms indicating knee replacement surgery is required?
Knee replacement surgery is usually necessary when the knee joint is worn or damaged so that your mobility is reduced, and you are in pain even while resting.
What types of Knee surgery are available?
There are 2 main types of surgery:
• total knee replacement – both sides of your knee joint are replaced
• partial (half) knee replacement – only 1 side of your joint is replaced in a smaller operation with a shorter hospital stay and recovery period
When should you undertake knee replacement surgery?
Usually your doctor will recommend after reviewing your case. A knee replacement is major surgery, so is normally only recommended if other treatments, such as physiotherapy or steroid injections, have not reduced pain or improved mobility.
What is the outcome of a total knee replacement?
Knee-replacement surgery has a very high rate of success in eliminating pain and you can return back to your normal healthy lifestyle in as low as 3-4 months.
What is the hospitalization and recovery period for this surgery?
Normal hospitalization period is 3- 5 days. However recovery times vary.
Most people can stop using walking aids around 6 weeks after surgery, and start driving after 6 to 8 weeks.
Full recovery can take up to 2 years as scar tissue heals and your muscles are restored by exercise. A very small amount of people will continue to have some pain after 2 years.
What are the do’s and don’ts after a knee replacement surgery?
All impact activities, such as running and downhill skiing, and vigorous racket sports, such as singles tennis or squash should be avoided.
Risks of knee replacement surgery:
Knee replacement surgery is a common operation and most people do not have complications. However, as with any operation, there are risks as well as benefits.
Complications are rare but can include:
• stiffness of the knee
• infection of the wound
• infection of the joint replacement, needing further surgery
• unexpected bleeding into the knee joint
• ligament, artery or nerve damage in the area around the knee joint
• deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
• persistent pain in the knee
• a break in the bone around the knee replacement during or after the operation
• In some cases, the new knee joint may not be completely stable and further surgery may be needed to correct it.
Dos and Don’ts after a Knee surgery
• Do prescribed exercises and physiotherapy
• Do Eat a healthy and balanced diet (subject to your body conditions)
• Do follow your Doctors instruction on wound care
• Do elevate your legs and use compression stocking or ice (as recommended by doctor)
• Don’t skip any of your exercises
• Don’t step on slippery floors without non-skid socks or shoes
• Don’t sit on soft sofas or chairs that you sink down into
• Don’t forget to use your walker or cane as prescribed
• Don’t get up at night without a nightlight on
• Don’t drive when on narcotics for pain
• Don’t start driving until your doctor gives you the green light
How long will the knee replacement last?
It depends on patient to patient. Normally total knee replacement should last for 20 years though partial may need further surgery after 10 years.
• Severe knee pain that limits your everyday activities.
• Moderate or severe knee pain while resting, day or night.
• Long-lasting knee inflammation and swelling that doesn’t get better with rest or medications.
• A bowing in or out of your leg.
• No pain relief from NSAIDs or can’t tolerate them
• rheumatoid arthritis.
• disorders that cause unusual bone growth.
• death of bone in the knee joint following blood supply problems.
• knee injury.
• knee deformity with pain and loss of cartilage.