All about Knee Replacement – need, process, surgery, side effects, and more

knee replacement surgery

Knee replacement surgery – Knee Replacement is a surgical procedure that is performed to replace the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee joint that causes pain and disability in the body. This surgery of the knee is also known as knee arthroplasty which is most commonly performed for osteoarthritis and other knee diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.knee replacement surgery

Knee replacement surgery is also conducted for patients with severe deformity from advanced rheumatoid arthritis, trauma, or long-standing osteoarthritis. In these cases, the surgery may be more complicated and will carry a higher risk. 

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The need for knee replacement surgery

An important point to remember here is that osteoporosis does not typically cause knee pain, deformity, or inflammation and is not the primary reason to perform a knee replacement surgery. The other causes of pain include meniscus tears, cartilage defects, and ligament tears. Another fact is that debilitating pain from osteoarthritis is much more common in the elderly.

In a knee replacement operation, the worn ends of the bones and any remaining hard cartilage are removed and replaced with metal and plastic parts. The interlocking parts of the artificial joints is what allows your knee to bend while also making it more stable.

The different types of knee replacement surgery

The 4 common types of knee replacement surgeries include:

         Total knee replacement

         Uni-compartmental (partial) knee replacement

         Kneecap replacement (patellofemoral arthroplasty)

         Complex or revision knee replacement

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Advantages and Disadvantages of knee replacement surgery

Advantages

  • freedom from pain
  • improved mobility
  • improved quality of life (with fewer interruptions in everyday activities)

Disadvantages

  • Most knee replacements aren’t designed to bend as far as your natural knee.
  • Although it’s usually possible to kneel, some people do find it uncomfortable to put weight on the scar at the front of their knee after the surgery.
  • You’re likely to witness some numbness at the outer edge of the scar. This usually improves over two years but it’s unlikely that the feeling will completely return back to normal.
  • A replaced knee joint might wear out after a time or may become loose which would mean treating it again. 
  • You may also be aware of some clicking or clunking in the knee replacement.

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How to prep for a knee replacement surgery?

  • Before the operation, it’s a good idea to make sure your general health is as good as it can. From diabetes or high blood pressure to dental problems, make sure everything is fine before you get in for your surgery.
  • Your orthopedic surgeon will also suggest exercises to strengthen your muscles at the front of your thighs (quadriceps), which often become weak with arthritis. The stronger these muscles are, the quicker your recovery is likely to be.
  • You’ll probably be invited for a pre-admission clinic a few weeks before your surgery where you’ll be examined to make sure you’re generally well enough for the operation. This can include blood tests to check for anemia and to make sure your kidneys are working properly, an MRSA swab to check that you’re not carrying resistant bacteria, a urine sample to rule out infection, and an electrocardiograph (ECG) tracing to make sure your heart is healthy.
  • Do not forget to ask questions about your operation and about your current medications which might need changes to the dosage or timings before you have your surgery.
  • You will be asked to sign a consent form which will give the surgeon the permission to carry out the treatment after which your knee will then be marked for the operation.
  • You will also be asked if you’re willing for details of your operation to be entered into the National Joint Registry (NJR) database.
  • Right before your operation you’ll be walked or taken in a chair or bed to the operating theatre where you’ll be given a sedative medication while waiting in the admissions ward. 
  • You’ll then be given an anesthetic. This will numb the body from the waist down, but you’ll remain awake throughout the operation. If you have a general anesthetic instead, you may also be given a nerve block – which blocks the pain in your leg for up to 36 hours after the surgery but will also weaken the leg temporarily. Many surgeons choose to inject a type of local anesthetic into the tissues around the knee during the operation to numb the pain but still allow the muscles to work so you can get up sooner after the operation.
  • The operation may take between 45 minutes to over 2 hours, depending on how complex the surgery is.

Risks of Knee Replacement surgery procedure

Some possible complications of a knee replacement surgery may include, but are not limited to:

         Bleeding

         Infection

         Blood clots in the legs or lungs

         Loosening or wearing out of the prosthesis

         Fracture

         Continued pain or stiffness

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Do remember that the above details are only for the purpose of giving you an idea of what it involves. Exact details and advantages, disadvantages, risks involved will be shared by your doctor.

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Disclaimer: This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.

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