What is knee replacement and why is it useful?
Knee replacement is a kind of arthroplasty. Arthroplasty literally means “the surgical repair of a joint,” and it involves the surgical reconstruction and replacement of degenerated joints, using artificial body parts, or prosthetics. With a prosthesis or implant, the patient will feel less pain, and the knee will move properly.
Knee replacement surgery can help relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased knee joints. The procedure involves cutting away damaged bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap and replacing it with an artificial joint (prosthesis/ implant) made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics, and polymers.
In determining whether a knee replacement (TKR) is right for you, an orthopedic surgeon assesses your knee’s range of motion, stability, and strength. X-rays help determine the extent of the damage. Your doctor can choose from a variety of knee replacement prosthesis/knee replacement implants and surgical techniques, considering your age, weight, activity level, knee size and shape, and overall health.
Knee replacement surgery requires general anesthesia
Duration of the procedure: 2-3 hours
Length of stay in hospital: 4-5 days
Results: For most people, knee replacement provides pain relief, improved mobility and a better quality of life. And most knee replacements can be expected to last more than 15 years
You can expect to be up on your feet within a day. you may need parallel bars, crutches, a walker, or a cane for a while to get up. The day after surgery, a physiotherapist will show you how to exercise your new knee. After you leave the hospital, you’ll continue physiotherapy at home or at a center.
Do your exercises regularly, as instructed. For the best recovery, follow all of your care team’s instructions concerning wound care, diet, and exercise. Usually, you can expect a big improvement in flexibility and much less pain within a month.
You might need help from a physical therapist, who will go through a series of exercises to strengthen your repaired knee.
Who might need a knee replacement?
Knee surgery may be suitable for patients who experience:
- Severe knee pain or stiffness that makes it hard for carrying out everyday tasks and activities, such as walking, going upstairs, getting in and out of cars, getting up from a chair
- Moderate but continuous knee pain that continues while sleeping or resting
- Chronic knee inflammation and swelling that does not improve after taking medications or resting
- Knee deformity, where there is a noticeable arch on the inside or outside of the knee
- Physiotherapy and medication haven’t helped.
If the other available treatment options have not worked, surgery may be the best option.
Three to six weeks, pt can resume daily activities.
Recovering at home
It can take up to 3 months to recover completely from a knee replacement surgical procedure.
Patients can normally drive again after 4 to 6 weeks, and return to work after 6 to 8 weeks. Physical therapy may be provided for 3 months.
Patients must comply with the instructions given by doctors, nurses and the physical therapist.
The patient may be asked:
- Not to bend down and lift heavy things, at least for the first few weeks
- Not to stay standing still for long periods, as the ankles might swell
- To use all medications according to the instructions
- To carry out the recommended exercises to encourage proper mobility
- To keep the affected leg raised on a footstool when sitting
- To avoid soaking the wound until the scar is completely healed, because of the risk of infection
- Ensuring there is a secure handrail and using a stable, nonslip bench or chair in the shower
- Securing any loose carpets and removing wrinkly mats around the house
- Removing or securing any trip hazards, such as loose wires
- Avoid stair climbing initially.
- Arrange for a toilet-seat riser with arms if you have a low toilet.
Risks and complications
Total knee replacements have low complication rates.
Possible complications include:
- Continued pain or stiffness
- Allergic reaction to the bone cement
- Excess scar tissue restricts the movement of the knee
- Instability of the kneecap, resulting in painful dislocation to the outer side of the knee
Artificial knees can wear the out:
Another risk of knee replacement surgery is a failure of the artificial joint. Daily use wears on even the strongest metal and plastic parts. Joint failure risk is higher if you stress the joint with high-impact activities or excessive weight.