Knee replacement surgery is a procedure aimed at replacing damaged or deteriorated components of a knee joint that has suffered injury or wear-and-tear. This surgical intervention is primarily undertaken to alleviate pain and enhance the functionality of the knee. During the surgery, the surgeon replaces compromised bone and cartilage with prosthetic components typically crafted from a combination of metal and plastic materials.
The decision regarding whether a knee replacement is suitable for an individual is determined through a comprehensive evaluation by a surgeon. This evaluation includes an assessment of the knee’s range of motion, stability, and strength. Additionally, X-ray imaging is utilized to visualize and assess the extent of damage within the knee joint.
The choice of the specific artificial joints and surgical techniques employed in the procedure is contingent upon various factors, including the patient’s age, body weight, activity level, the unique size and shape of their knee, and their overall health status.
The healthcare provider will advise either a full or partial knee replacement:
The primary indication for knee replacement surgery is typically the alleviation of pain caused by arthritis, which often results in difficulties with activities such as walking, stair-climbing, and rising from chairs. When only a specific portion of the knee is affected, surgeons can target the replacement accordingly. However, if the entire joint requires intervention, the ends of the thighbone and shinbone undergo reshaping, facilitating complete joint resurfacing. These bones possess a durable outer structure with a softer core into which the artificial components are seamlessly inserted. In cases where the knee’s ligaments lack the necessary strength to maintain joint stability, the surgeon may choose implants that can be securely connected to prevent dislocation.
Patients who have undergone knee replacement surgery may still experience persistent knee pain, and this can be attributed to several risk factors:
While knee replacement implants are typically durable, over time, they may experience wear and loosening. In such cases, a subsequent surgical procedure might be necessary to address and rectify the damaged or loosened components.
Knee arthroplasty is a safe and effective procedure that can lead to improved mobility and a reduction in chronic pain. Following knee replacement surgery, most patients report experiencing less pain, an enhanced quality of life, and increased mobility and functionality in their knee.
Getting ready for surgery involves several important steps to ensure your safety and a successful procedure.
By following these steps and maintaining open communication with your healthcare providers, you will be well-prepared for your upcoming surgery, ensuring a safer and more successful outcome.
On the day of your surgery, you will receive anesthesia to ensure you are pain-free during the procedure. An anesthesiologist will administer either:
During a knee replacement surgery, your surgeon will perform the following steps:
Following surgery, you will be transferred to a post-operative recovery area, where a dedicated surgical team will closely monitor your condition for several hours to ensure a smooth awakening from anesthesia and to keep a close watch on your vital signs and pain management. While some individuals undergoing knee replacement surgery may be discharged on the same day, others may require an overnight hospital stay, with your surgeon making the determination of when it is safe for you to be discharged home.
Recovery from knee replacement surgery typically takes about a year for full rehabilitation. However, you can usually resume most of your usual activities within six weeks post-surgery. Your specific recovery timeline is influenced by factors such as your pre-surgery activity level, age, and overall health. Your surgeon will provide a personalized recovery plan, but here are key steps to follow:
Returning to Work or School: The duration of your absence from work or school depends on the demands of your activities on your knee. Most individuals require a few weeks of rest at home after knee replacement surgery. Your surgeon will advise you on the safe timing for your return.
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