Understanding Knee Replacement Surgery
Who Needs Knee Replacement Surgery?
Total knee replacement surgery is considered for patients whose knee joints have been damaged by either progressive arthritis, trauma, or other rare destructive diseases of the joint. The most common reason for knee replacement in the United States is severe osteoarthritis of the knees.
Regardless of the cause of the damage to the joint, the resulting progressively increasing pain and stiffness and decreasing daily function lead the patient to consider total knee replacement. Decisions regarding whether or when to undergo knee replacement surgery are not easy. Patients should understand the risks as well as the benefits before making these decisions.
What Happens During Knee Replacement Surgery?
Once you are under general anesthesia or spinal/epidural anesthesia, an 8- to 12-inch cut is made in the front of the knee. The damaged part of the joint is removed from the surface of the bones, and the surfaces are then shaped to hold a metal or plastic artificial joint. The artificial joint is attached to the thigh bone, shin and knee cap. When fit together, the attached artificial parts form the joint, relying on the surrounding muscles and ligaments for support and function.
What Are Recent Advances in Knee Replacement Surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery has revolutionized knee replacement surgery as well as many fields of medicine. Its key characteristic is that it uses specialized techniques and instruments to enable the surgeon to perform major surgery without a large incision.
What happens after Knee Replacement Surgery?
Typically, you will have 3-day hospital stay and depending on progress you could be independent within a week.
Physical therapy begins 24 hours after surgery with isometric exercises in bed. The physical therapist will teach you how to safely get in and out of bed without damaging your new joint during recovery. Progressive daily exercises will help to increase your range-of-motion, making it possible to achieve a 90° bend in your knee by the end of your hospital stay.
Follow your surgeon’s directions throughout rehabilitation and attend all follow-up appointments with your surgeon and physical therapist. It is still common to have pain, as recovery time can last three to six months.
For more information about FMC orthopedic care or to schedule a tour, call 740-687-8649.