What is knee replacement surgery?
Knee replacement surgery is a procedure to replace a damaged knee joint with an artificial joint. It is one of the most common orthopedic surgeries performed in the world.
Who is a good candidate for knee replacement surgery?
Knee replacement surgery is typically recommended for people with severe knee pain and stiffness that does not respond to other treatments, such as physical therapy, medication, or injections. The surgery is most commonly performed on older adults, but it can also be done on younger people with certain conditions, such as arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
What to expect before surgery
Before surgery, you will meet with your surgeon to discuss your medical history, symptoms, and goals for surgery. Your surgeon will also perform a physical examination and order some tests, such as X-rays and blood tests.
In the weeks leading up to surgery, you will need to make some preparations, such as:
- Quitting smoking
- Losing weight if you are overweight or obese
- Arranging for transportation and help after surgery
What happens during surgery
Knee replacement surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia. During surgery, your surgeon will make an incision in your knee and remove the damaged cartilage and bone. Then, they will insert metal and plastic implants to replace the missing joint surfaces.
What to expect after surgery
After surgery, you will stay in the hospital for a few days. During that time, you will start physical therapy to learn how to move your new knee. You will also be given medication to manage pain and swelling.
Once you are discharged from the hospital, you will continue physical therapy at home or at an outpatient facility. It is important to follow your physical therapist's instructions carefully to ensure a full recovery.
Recovery from knee replacement surgery
Most people make a good recovery from knee replacement surgery and experience significant pain relief and improved mobility. However, it is important to be patient and realistic about your recovery. It can take several months to fully recover from surgery.
Here are some tips for a successful recovery:
- Follow your surgeon's and physical therapist's instructions carefully.
- Take your medication as prescribed.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Avoid strenuous activities until your surgeon says it is okay.
Risks and complications of knee replacement surgery
Like any surgery, knee replacement surgery carries some risks and complications. These include:
- Blood clots
- Nerve damage
- Loosening of the implant
- Allergic reaction to the implant
Knee replacement surgery is a safe and effective way to relieve pain and improve mobility in people with severe knee arthritis. If you are considering knee replacement surgery, be sure to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits.