If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or traumatic injury, you may be a candidate for knee replacement surgery. However, the decision more depends upon your physical and medical condition. Conditions like when your knee starts to trouble you a lot even in doing simple daily activities like sitting, walking, climbing stairs, or getting into car etc., knee replacement surgery may be a solution for you. But the final decision is based on your age, X-ray reports, general health, and medical history. Also, we suggest it is good to take second opinion before deciding over partial (PKR) or Total Knee Replacement (TKR) surgery.
For more than a month, you will need someone to assist you in household jobs like laundry, cooking etc. Make arrangements at home before your surgery to avoid any discomfort and hassles.
Mostly knee replacement patients are discharged from the hospital within four to five days after the surgery.
Generally, a knee replacement procedure takes about two hours to complete.
For about four to five days after the surgery, you will experience some pain. But this would be managed by your doctors through mostly intravenous medications. After your discharge from the hospital, you will be on painkillers for about two months but this differs from patient to patient, some may take longer. Post-knee replacement surgery, pain management also includes regular physical therapy and lifestyle changes that help to better adjust to the new knee implants and give relief from pain.
You would be made to move your knee joints the very next day with the help of your assigned physiotherapist. Initially, you will be helped to walk with parallel bars in hospital and later using crutches. After you return home, physical therapy by a visiting physiotherapist and exercises will continue for about two months to improve the functionality of your knee. While alongside pain medications will carry on.
At home, initially, you will be walking using walker or cane till your knee is able to completely support your body weight. It would take about two-three months to walk, climb up and down the stairs, and do daily chores independently.
For the success of your knee replacement surgery, it is important to choose the best hospital and orthopedic surgeon. To choose the right hospital, look into every aspect of the treatment such as quality, experienced orthopedic surgeon, cost of knee replacement, post-surgery rehab, easy regular doctor visits after the surgery, and physiotherapy sessions which would continue for about three months.
If have any doubts, you can call our patient advisors for ‘free guidance’ on any treatment related issue.
The knee replacement complications and risks are same as in any other surgical procedure. But they are very rare, reported in even less than 1% cases. The complications may include risk of infection, blood clot, implant’s problem or neurovascular injury. All these are well taken care by experienced orthopedic surgeons via continuous monitoring, medications, and preventive measures. To reduce any risk of infection special precautions are also taken in the operation theaters.
There is no definite right age for knee replacement surgery. It can be performed on people aged between 50-80 years facing degenerative arthritis to even teenagers with juvenile arthritis. The decision to undergo knee replacement is solely based your intensity of pain, discomfort in daily activities, and disability.
Knee replacement has high success rate of over 90%. It has become a routine and almost predictable surgery that has benefited millions of patients around the world. India alone is witnessing over 15% year-on-year increase in knee replacement surgeries with the availability of advanced technology and highly experienced orthopedic surgeons in the country.
- Make your bedroom on the ground floor. In case you have a multi-story house, stay on the first floor for at least about three months.
- Avoid stairs to reduce chances of injury or strain on your knees.
- Make way in the room and passage for smooth movement. Remove clutters, put aside furniture, and remove rugs that might cause you to slip or hurt your knee in anyway.
- Place things that you need in your reach, like medicines, water, phone etc.
- Keep walker, crutch or cane on your bedside, so that you can get it easily once you get up from bed.
- Use a good firm chair higher than normal height to sit and a foot rest stool for support.
- Before going to the hospital for TKR, organize your clothes and other necessities within your reach.
- Shower and bathroom safety is very necessary. Put an elevated toilet seat or a riser. Install a handrail or bar in your shower and next to your toilet. Place a bench in your bathroom. Remember you have to avoid any kind of hurt to your knees and reduce the risk of a fall.
There are many types of prosthetic knee implants available today having different designs, shapes, and sizes. They are made up of metal alloys, ceramic material, or strong plastic components which combine to form a synthetic joint that functions like a natural knee. Your surgeon can ultimately guide you to the best implant type that would work best for you, based on your physical and medical conditions like age, weight, and activity limitations etc.
With improvements in surgical technique, implants material and designs, the durability and success of knee implants have increased. Most of the knee replacement implants would last about 20 years or even beyond.
Knee replacement is deemed to be one of the expensive surgeries. It includes the procedure cost, and pre- and post-operation expenses. Cost of knee replacement varies for each city and hospital even within the same geographical location. In India the knee replacement cost is far less than what you would have to pay in the developed countries like the U.S. or UK.
Knee replacement surgery is typically covered under medical insurance.
For more information on knee replacement cost read: Cost of knee replacement in India
Your orthopedic surgeon may give either regional or general anesthesia. He will make an incision on your knee exposing the joint area to be operated. The incision would be of about four inches in case of latest minimally invasive technique while otherwise it’s of about eight-10 inches. During the surgery, the surgeon cuts the damaged worn surfaces of knee bone and cartilage and replaces them with artificial components. The new joint is set together for pain-free knee movement. The surgeon repairs any deep tissue cuts occurred during surgery and then closes the skin incision using staples or stiches.
Generally, doctors allow shower or wetting your staples after about four days of TKR. It is better to keep the incisions covered and dry while showering for few weeks
In about one month, you will be able to move up and down the stairs.
When to travel, depends on your recovery speed. The better you follow the doctor’s instructions, physiotherapy, and recommended exercises sooner you can travel. Once you are comfortable walking and getting up, you can travel shorter distances. Travelling long distances is not recommended before three months. Consult your doctor, if you have any such travel plan.
If you are into sitting job, less strenuous, you can get back to work after one month of knee replacement while for more strenuous work, it takes longer. Discuss with your doctor about your job type and when you can get back to it.
In case of stitches, they are absorbable and do not need to be removed while staples are removed within two weeks after the operation by a visiting nurse or physiotherapist at your home.
While TKR improves your mobility and quality of life, high-impact activities such as running or jumping would still be restricted. Sports like skiing, badminton, football are not recommended. You can do low-impact activities such as dancing, golfing, biking, swimming, bowling, gardening, and light tennis.
India has many highly trained and experienced knee replacement surgeons practicing in different cities.
For more information read: Best joint replacement surgeon in India
After the knee replacement you will get approximately six to eight inch long scar on your knee. The scar gradually fades to a thin line in about six months after the surgery. You need to protect the scar from dust or getting hurt. Apply the cream regularly your doctor has prescribed for healing. Later you can use a scar removing cream in consultation with your doctor.
Like in any other surgery, blood loss is normal during total knee replacement (TKR) surgery too. But not everyone needs blood transfusion during knee replacement surgery.