A knee is a type of joint in the human body that helps in movement. It is formed of 2 leg bones (Tibia and Femur), muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Each end of the two bones is protected by cartilages that absorb shock and prevent jerk. Knee has a synovial membrane that produces synovial fluid and keeps it lubricated to avoid friction.
What Is A Knee Replacement Surgery?
A Knee Replacement Surgery, also called total knee replacement or arthroplasty, is a type of surgical procedure to repair the damaged knee joint. The knee can be damaged due to a medical condition called Arthritis or severe knee injury. In a knee replacement, the damaged part of the bone is removed and replaced with an implant. While a partial knee replacement is done to remove the damaged bone, a total knee replacement is done for people who have chronically diseased knee.
The main aim of knee replacement surgery is to repair the damage and relieve the pain that cannot be treated by medicines or any other therapy.
In this era of advanced medical technology, knee replacement surgery has become a common treatment option. Especially for the elderly, this gives you a second chance to enjoy the second innings of your life, without any pain. Knee replacement surgery not only relieves chronic pain but also improves the quality of life!
Chronic knee pain is a major sign which you should not avoid. Chronic pain can be very severe and may interrupt our daily routine, such as climbing stairs, walking, or standing for a while. Pain can be because of Arthritis, injury, or infection. Arthritis stands for: Arthro means joints, and Itis means inflammation.:
- Osteoarthritis: a degenerative joint disease that is age-related and affects middle-aged or older people
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: a condition in which the synovial membrane gets inflamed, leading to excessive synovial fluid secretion. That causes pain and discomfort.
- Traumatic Arthritis: inflammation of the joint because of a severe injury or trauma.
- Fracture, torn ligament, tendon, or cartilages, can cause irreparable damage to the knee that can only be treated by a knee replacement surgery.
When to opt for knee replacement surgery?
When the knee pain becomes unbearable and stops you from performing routine activities, it is time that you should consult an Orthopedic surgeon. Sometimes, infection and injury may lead to swelling and inflammation. Regardless of the cause of damage to the joints, the increasing pain and stiffness and decreasing pace of activities make it critical to opt for knee replacement. When the pain does not subside through oral antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs, the doctors recommend knee replacement surgery.
To determine if you are the right candidate for knee replacement surgery, an orthopedic surgeon examines your knee’s stability, range of motion, and strength. An X-ray analyzes the extent of damage in the knee.
Knee replacement surgery is a planned surgical procedure, so before going ahead, you have the opportunity to customize your surgical requirements. Depending on your age, weight, activity range, knee size and shape, and general health, the surgeon decides the surgical technique and the type of implant or prosthesis that would be suitable for you.
If you are overweight, the doctor may advise you to reduce some kilos through exercise and become fit before the surgery, which will help in better rehabilitation.
After you have decided to undergo knee replacement surgery, a thorough medical check-up will be done. You will be given certain dietary supplements and medications before the surgery. You can arrange the walking-aid or walkers needed to use after a few days of the surgery. Arrange for toilet seat riser, armchair if you have a low toilet, try to stay at a ground level since climbing stairs would be difficult for some time.
You may also consult a physiotherapist before your surgery to plan and understand the rehabilitation process. You can discuss the risks and benefits in detail with the surgeon before making the decision.
The surgeon will decide the type of anesthesia, whether general or spinal anesthesia.
What Happens During Knee Replacement Surgery?
During the procedure, your knees will be in a bent position exposing the joint surface. The surgeon will make an incision, remove the diseased knee, and replace it with a prosthesis or implant.
The knee prosthesis is composed of metal and plastic. Surgical cement is used to attach the implant with the bone. The surgeon moves the knee to check if the implant rotates well. Implants can be cemented or uncemented. Cemented ones are the most common type. The prosthesis has 3 parts that correspond to the femur, tibia, and knee cap. After the implant is placed, the incision is closed by stitches or surgical staples, and dressing is done by a bandage.
The recovery phase after knee replacement surgery is most important. Knee surgery requires a hospital stay of around a week. After the surgery, a low-intensity exercise plan is initiated. Physical therapy and exercise play a major role in fast recovery and rehabilitation. Exercise helps the blood circulation in your legs. You may resume your normal diet soon after the surgery. Some kind of pain, stiffness can be expected in the initial days of physical therapy.
Full recovery may take several weeks. But you can start performing routine activities in a week of the surgery. You will be able to walk with the help of a walker until you regain strength balance. Physiotherapy will continue for a few months. It is important that you should avoid falls after knee replacement surgery. Eventually, you will start walking, climbing the stairs, and other light physical activities.