What is knee replacement
Knee replacement surgery helps to cure pain and restore function in severely affected knee joints. The damaged bone and cartilage in thighbone and kneecap is removed and replaced with an artificial joint made from metal or durable plastics and polymers. Your surgeons offer a variety of design options according to your age, weight and overall health. The knee replacement joints give a similar performance as of knee with flexibility to roll and glide. When fitted, the artificial parts develop the joint surrounding muscles and ligaments to offer required support and performance. The advanced techniques and equipments enable the surgeon to perform surgery while making it nominally invasive.
What is a Knee Replacement surgery?
Knee arthroplasty is a procedure where metal or plastic parts are fixed into the joint brought about by wear and tear or disease in the bones or joints. This procedure is mostly performed on people with severe arthritis or severe injuries where the oral treatments have failed to relieve pain.
Do I make a good candidate for this surgery/when to have it?
Knee Osteoarthritis can be severe in many cases where it affects your movements, bending, performing your work for example at home or at the office, moving on stairs, stiffness and so much more.
In most cases, one is not directly onto having this surgery except when other options like the ones below fail. These may include;
The doctor may prescribe NSAIDSs since they fight inflammation. These can be the first options for most of the doctors.
Injecting the joints
These injections can work for up to some months helping to relieve pain for some longer time. Cortisone and hyaluronic injections aid in fighting inflammations and also increase the liquid in the joint to help in normal and painless movements.
Failure of these treatments or where the pain is just increasing can make you have a knee replacement surgery.
What to do prior to the Knee Replacement Surgery?
This is very crucial for any person considering a knee, hip replacement or any other surgery. Before having this surgery, let the below points stick to your mind;
- The doctors will advice on the don’ts and dos and they have to be taken seriously
- A cardiogram, tests, including blood tests and X-rays are taken before the surgery which are handled over to the orthopedic surgeon.
- If you are a smoker, you are advised to stop months or weeks before the surgery as this prevents or restricts blood flow and lengthens the recovery period.
- You have to take no alcohol at least 2-3 days before the surgery.
- The nurse or doctor will have to take a general examination of your body and there are medications that are given to you before the surgery.
- Some exercises will be recommended in order to strengthen your body and also allow fast movement after the surgery.
- Your health status is also required by the doctors for your own good.
What to expect after a Knee Replacement Surgery?
After a knee replacement surgery, one has to spend some time at the hospital under the supervision and monitoring of the surgeon and other nurses. Automatically the surgery can help take away a lot of pain and stiffness that was disturbing you in the past.
The doctors will teach you on how to get back to your normal activities and it’s not a hard period to fear but care is necessary for the joint that has been operated and assistance is required in movements after the surgery.
Types of Knee Replacement surgeries that you may consider
Total Knee Replacement
In a total knee replacement the femur is removed plus the infected and damaged cartilage is all removed to lessen the weight in the joint or the bone. This is replaced with artificial metal or plastic prosthetic joint that allows the joint to function in a normal way.
This surgery may take approximately three hours since a strong and polished alloy has to be fixed and plastic has to replace the kneecap whereas polymer tray replaces the tibia portion. The extent of damage is all what is considered.
Partial Knee Replacement
This type of knee surgery is recommended when just a part of the knee is damaged or you can say a compartment. A replacement is fixed for the patella part, femur or tibia depending on what is damaged. This is done through a small incision. Where two or more parts are infected, another surgical procedure has to be taken
Revision Knee Replacement Surgery
Revision surgeries can be performed in the case where the fixed tissue has worn out after a period of time and there is pain produced in the joint. These kinds of surgeries become more difficult due to the scars created in the previous surgeries. It involves removing or replacing prosthetic knee joint parts.
Bilateral Knee Replacement Surgeries
Here both knees can undergo this surgery if there is damaged cartilage and movement in both the joints is hard.
Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement
This is a far better surgical technique where a 3 to 5 inch incision is inserted into the knee and it acts as treatment at the same time. There is little pain and a small scar is left which is not the same with other procedures.
Robotic surgeries/ computer assisted surgeries
These surgeries help the alignment to become more accurate which increases longevity and eradicates human mistakes in total knee replacement surgeries.
Risks involved in Knee Replacement Surgeries
There are complications involved in these surgeries but the doctors will guide you on what to do to avoid these risks
- Effect of anesthesia
The anesthesia is given to avoid pain but it can cause side effects like increased heart beat, nausea, artery injuries, stomach upsets and so on but the doctor will give you some medications to avoid this.
- Artery injuries and blood clots
These can also occur if at all the arteries are damaged and blood clots may increase due to the need to protect the created wound
- Implant failure and stiffness
These may also happen due to improper surgery and replacement which may increase pain and need for a revision surgery
- Wound complications followed with bleeding can also be another risk to be watched out for. So, maximum care is needed and you should restrict yourself from kneeling, bending and unnecessary exercises.
Many complications can be avoided if only you follow the doctor’s advice for your own good.
Advantages of Knee Replacement Surgery
- Improved movements and better way in doing your daily activities. This has been the number one result for the millions of people who undergo these surgeries.
- Relief from pain and stiffness is another benefit from these surgeries
- People are able to live a happier life after these surgeries. As time goes on they can bend, run and do exercises.
- A healthy mind and body are all that it takes to make everything better in this world.
Knee Replacement surgeries are surgeries recommended for patients with severe arthritis or injury in their joints. There can be partial knee replacement or total knee replacement depending on the severity of the damage. These surgeries help in relieving pain and the person can go back to performing his activities in a better way.
These surgeries have helped change millions of people’s lives whereby they can live with no pain and stiffness in their joints and bones. 50% of the people report a drastic change after the surgery whereby there is no more pain and any disturbance in their movements and normal daily activities.
Whereas, 85% report change as more months go by simply because of the type of surgery they had or the extent of damage they had. These surgeries can offer permanent relief and a better life when performed by an expert and the doctor’s advice followed.
- Stem cell injection can be an alternative to a knee replacement surgery
- Cartilage transfer is also available
- Arthroscopy is also another alternative
- The knee can be fused
- Osteotomy is also considered
Hip and Knee Replacement surgeries have been helpful to many patients and in India; there has been an increase in medical tourism just because these services are provided at a relatively low cost. The good expert can perform the surgery and make you forget any kind of pain that you have ever experienced.