Have you been suggested a knee replacement surgery by your orthopedic doctor? Do you have apprehensions and nervousness before going for it? We would say, do not worry!
Knee replacement has become a popular surgery to relieve people from severe knee joint pain occurring either due to arthritis or other joint problems. The advanced medical science technology now is able to perform highly functional artificial knee replacements that nearly duplicate your natural knee movement.
With high success rate of over 90%, this routine and almost predictable surgery 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. Here we will guide you to understand this beneficial procedure.
Who undergo knee replacement surgery?
Generally patients with a history of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis undergo this surgery. When your knee gets severely damaged due to arthritis or injury it becomes hard to perform simple day-to-day activities, such as walking, climbing stairs or even sitting etc., and then doctors prescribe a knee replacement surgery.
Remember, age is not a determinant factor for it. The surgery 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.
What is the knee replacement surgery procedure?
Knee replacement (knee arthroplasty) operation is removing the surface of the damaged knee bones and replacing them with artificial implants. These implants are made up of metal alloys, ceramic material, or strong plastic parts, which are joined to your knee bone by acrylic cement.
The type of implant in a knee replacement surgery depends upon various factors such as your age, weight, health, and lifestyle. Your orthopedic surgeon would discuss in detail with you about which type of implant best suited in your case.
There are two common types of knee replacement surgeries –
Total Knee Replacement (TKR) and Partial Knee Replacement (PKR). As the name suggest in TKR complete knee bones are replaced with implants while in PKR only a part of knee is replaced. PKR is done in patients who have osteoarthritis in only one compartment of their knee.
Like any other surgery, knee replacements are also performed under anesthesia and take approximately two hours.
Recovery after the knee replacement surgery
After the knee replacement surgery, you would be made to move your knee joints the very next day with the help of your assigned physiotherapist by the hospital. Initially, you will be helped to walk with parallel bars in hospital, and later using crutches, walker, or cane till your knee is able to completely support your body weight. The stay at hospital is of about four to five days.
It would take about two-three months, post the surgery, for you to walk, climb up the stairs, and do daily chores independently except for running and jumping. Till now your surgery wounds also heal completely. It is advisable to follow your doctor’s precautions and daily exercise regime thoroughly for quick recovery.
Patients who have undergone knee joint replacement surgery have shown remarkable change in their life, as now they can walk freely, climb, drive, swim, or do their daily activities without pain or discomfort. You can also indulge in low-impact sports like swimming or golf. The knee replacement implants lasts for about 20 years on an average. With moderate lifestyle and precautions the implants can last longer.
How to increase the life expectancy of your knee implant
- Avoid heavy weight lifting
- Avoid excessive stair climbing
- Do not kneel
- Avoid low height seat surfaces
- Maintain appropriate body weight
- Avoid high-impact activity like jogging, baseball, basketball etc.
- Consult your surgeon before taking up any new sport or activity
Do knee replacement surgeries have any complications?
Very low. Yes, it is reported in even less than 2% cases. The surgery complications are rare and include infection, blood clot, implant problem or neurovascular injury. All these are taken care of by your surgeon by continuous monitoring, medications, and preventive measures.
Precautions after knee replacement surgery
- Regular light exercises as advised by your physiotherapist for proper strength and mobility of your knee
- Follow strict medications as proposed by your doctor
- Take balanced diet, especially iron rich food
- Take great care to avoid falls and injuries
- Regular follow-up with your orthopedic surgeon as mentioned in your discharge card is essential
Knee replacement surgeries have proved to be highly successful treatment for patients with acute knee pain who are not even able to perform their routine life activities, improve their mobility and quality of life.
If you have any knee replacement queries, call our patient advisors for ‘free’ guidance.