Knee replacement is the most joint replacement surgery in the body. The decision to undergo knee replacement surgery needs a thorough history, a detailed physical examination, and may include investigations like x-ray and MRI scan of the knee joint.
The clinical examination is a very important part where a surgeon will check your range of movement of your joint, strength of your muscles, and stability of your joint.
You may need a blood test to rule out another disease that can give rise to knee pain.
The most common condition is osteoarthritis which causes knee damage. The most important factor which is the real indicator of the necessity of undergoing knee replacement is the severity of joint pain. Most of the patients who will be selected for knee replacement surgery will have a trial of different types of pain killers, may have tried supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate some also try an intraarticular injection of steroids and physiotherapy. But in spite of all these medications if your knee hurts or remains swollen with restricted movement or deformity of the knee joint is developing then you may need knee replacement.
Preparation before surgery
A planned approach to the surgery will help you recover faster.
- You need to reduce your weight if you are overweight before surgery
- You need to start learning about exercises that you will need to do after surgery.
- It will help if you improve your muscle strength around your knee as well as your upper body.
- Stop smoking
The artificial knee joint is made up of steel, plastic, or ceramic and there are two more components.
Surgery is done under general anesthesia. An incision is made over the knee joint and the surface of the old joints is prepared so that artificial knee joint components are fitted on the bone. Joint may be cemented to the bone. After surgery, the skin incision is closed and a small tube is let to drain the collected blood.
Postoperative recovery –
Usually, recovery is very quick, People will start walking the next day with help of a physiotherapist. Breathing exercises will help with the expansion of your lung. Slowly you will be putting more weight on your operated knee and you will learn to climb stairs. Patients are discharged in 3-4 days. You may need to take some pain killers and an ice pack over the joint will also help with swelling and pain. Signs to be careful about are the signs of infection like- fever, discharge from the incision site.
By the end of 2 weeks, stitches are removed and people start waking independently with or without a cane.
You should be able to do all your routine work without much pain in 2-3 months but high impact sports should be avoided.
More than 90% of the knee joints last for more than 15 years.
Dr. Rakesh Rai. MS, FRCS, MD, CCT, ASTS Fellow.