Knee Replacement And Arthroplasty
Knee replacement or knee arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to replace the weigh bearing surfaces of the knee joint to relieve pain and disability. It is most commonly used for osteoarthritis and also for other knee diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. In patients with severe deformity from advanced rheumatoid arthritis, trauma or long-standing osteoarthritis, the surgery may be more complicated and carry higher risk. Osteoporosis does not typically cause knee pain, deformity or inflammation and is not a reason to perform knee replacement.
What is knee replacement? Knee replacement is a type of surgery in which a doctor replaces parts of a person’s diseased knee joint with man-made parts.
The knee joint is a type of joint called a “hinge joint.” The knee joint is made up of the lower part of the thigh bone (called the femur), the knee cap (called the patella), and the top part of the shinbone (called the tibia).
When people have problems with their knee joints, the knees can be painful, swollen, and stiff. There is, in addition, trouble in normal movements of the knees. Different conditions can cause problems with the knee joint. One of the most common causes is osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that often comes with ageing.
Total knee replacement (TKR) is the treatment that can reduce knee pain and improve the way the knee works.
When are knee problems treated with knee replacement? Knee problems might or might not be treated with knee replacement straight away. It is prudent for the doctors, sometimes, to try other treatments first. These can include: management of weight loss, medicines for pain and bone strength, knee braces, or physiotherapy. If these treatments do not help enough, doctors then suggest knee replacement of the affected knee.
What happens during knee replacement surgery? — Knee replacement takes place in an operating room in a hospital. The anesthetist will administer medicines that will make you sleep and numb your body. Later, your orthopedic surgeon will make a cut down the center, on the front of the knee. He/She will replace parts of your knee joint with man-made parts made out of metal, ceramic, or plastic.
What happens after surgery? After the surgery, most patients stay in the hospital for 2 to 4 days. In the hospital, the patient will receive:
- Medicines to relieve your pain.
- Antibiotics to prevent infections.
- Blood thinners to prevent blood clots in the legs.
- Special boots or stockings to prevent blood clots in the legs.
- Physiotherapy: Most patients are able to stand and walk (with support) within a day after the surgery. The physiotherapist will teach you exercises to make the muscles in your legs stronger. He or she will also work with you to impart rehabilitation exercises like bending the knees, walking, and climbing stairs, so that you can move normally.
What problems can patients have from knee replacement? Each patient can have different problems straight after the knee replacement surgery, but serious problems are uncommon. The general problems from knee replacement can include:
- Blood clots in the legs, which can cause leg pain and swelling.
- Infections, which can result in fevers, chills, pain in the knee that gets worse and worse accompanied by knee swelling. It is wise to let your doctor or nurse know, if you have any of these symptoms.
The patient who has had his/her knee replaced, sometimes, finds that the new knee is stiff and does not bend as much as the original knee used to. This makes him/her hard to climb stairs or get up from a low chair.
Where do I go after I leave the hospital? Many patients go home. However, some people stay in a nursing home or a rehabilitation center for a short time in order to get acclimatized to the new knee before going home. Wherever you go, you will need to diligently do your exercises and have physiotherapy.
When will I be able to do resume my usual activities? Most people can start their usual activities, again, within 3 to 6 weeks of knee replacement. Your doctor or nurse will tell you if there are activities that you should avoid.
How do I know if knee replacement is good for me?
- The benefits of knee replacement.
- The downsides to knee replacement.
- The other options besides knee replacement.
- The consequences of not having a knee replacement.