If your knee has been severely damaged by arthritis or injury, it may be difficult to perform simple activities such as walking or climbing stairs. Pain may be felt when sitting or standing.
Total knee replacement surgery may be considered when nonsurgical treatments such as medications, physiotherapy, and steroid/hyaluronic acid injections do not reduce pain or are no longer helpful. Knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty) is a safe and effective procedure to relieve pain, correct leg deformity, and help resume normal activities. Total knee prostheses have been successfully performed at all ages. Although most patients undergoing total knee replacement are 50 to 80 years old, surgical recommendations are based on pain and disability, not the age of the patient. When determining whether a knee replacement is right for you, an orthopedic surgeon will evaluate your knee's range of motion, stability, and strength.
X-rays help determine the extent of the damage. You may be offered knee replacement surgery if you have: Severe pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee joint and reduced mobility If it is difficult to walk more than a few blocks without significant pain, or if you need to use a cane or walker If the severity of your knee pain affects the quality of daily living and sleep Shopping or leaving the bathroom Daily tasks such as dating are difficult or impossible.
If there is a knee deformity If you feel depressed due to pain and lack of movement If working or social life becomes difficult BEFORE THE PROCEDURE You should stay as active as possible.
Strengthening the muscles around the knee will aid recovery. If possible, light exercise such as walking and swimming should be continued in the weeks and months prior to surgery. The patient may be referred to a physiotherapist who will provide helpful exercises. Knee replacement surgery requires anesthesia. The patient's admission status and preference help the team decide whether to use general anesthesia, which renders you unconscious, or spinal anesthesia, which leaves you awake but without lower back pain. To help prevent post-operative infection, the patient is given intravenous antibiotics before, during, and after the procedure. You may also be given a nerve block around the knee to numb it. After the procedure, the effect of drowsiness gradually passes. How Does the Post-Process Process Proceed? Moving the foot and ankle will be encouraged, which increases blood flow to the leg muscles and helps prevent swelling and blood clots. To further protect against swelling and clotting, blood thinners are taken and a support tube or compression bandage/stocking may be worn. It will be desirable to do frequent breathing exercises and gradually increase the activity level. A walker or crutches will be required at first, and a physical therapist will teach the patient exercises to help with strength. It usually requires a few days of hospitalization, but recovery times can vary.
Most people can stop using walking aids about 6 weeks after surgery and start driving after 8 to 10 weeks. After discharge, the patient will advise on knee care at home. A physiotherapist will demonstrate how to operate the new directory. After leaving the hospital, physical therapy should be continued at home or in a center. Your exercises should be performed regularly as instructed and for best healing, all instructions from your care team regarding wound care, diet and exercise should be followed. Realistic Expectations An important factor in deciding whether to have total knee replacement surgery is understanding what the procedure can and cannot do. Most people who undergo total knee replacement surgery experience an effective reduction in knee pain and a significant improvement in their ability to perform common daily activities. With normal use and activity, every knee replacement begins to wear away from the plastic spacer. Excessive activity or weight can accelerate this wear and cause the knee replacement to become loose and painful. For this reason, most surgeons advise against high-impact activities such as running, jogging, jumping, or other high-impact sports for the rest of your life after surgery. Realistic activities following a total knee replacement include unlimited walking, swimming, golf, driving, light walking, cycling, ballroom dancing, and other low-impact sports. With appropriate activity modification, knee prostheses can last for many years. Possible Complications of Surgery Knee replacement surgery is a common operation and complications are not seen in most people. However, as with any operation, there are risks as well as benefits. Complications are rare, but may include: Stiffness of the knee Infection of the wound site Infection of the joint replacement and requiring further surgery Unexpected bleeding in the knee joint Damage to the ligament, artery, or nerve in the area around the knee joint Deep vein thrombosis / deep vein coagulation (dvt) Persistent pain in the knee During the operation or subsequent fracture of the bone around the knee replacement In some cases, the new knee joint may not be completely stable and further surgery may be needed to fix it.