Knee replacement, also referred as arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to resurface the parts of knee joint that have been damaged and to relieve knee pain that cannot be controlled by other medications. The artificial joint is called a prosthesis. Arthritis is the main cause of knee problems leading to extreme pain and inflammation that might necessitate knee surgery. In some knee pain may be due to osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disease that may cause breakdown of joint cartilage) or rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of synovial membrane) and in others it may be due to traumatic arthritis (knee damage due to injury). In total knee replacement surgery, the damaged cartilage and bone from the knee surface is replaced with a man-made surface of metal and plastic. Whereas in partial knee replacement, only part of your knee joint is replaced.
Total knee replacement surgery
Total knee replacement surgery will be performed under the influence of anesthesia. The most common types of anesthesia are general anesthesia or spinal, epidural or regional nerve block anesthesia. Depending upon the patient condition, the anesthesia team will decide which type will be best.
The procedure usually takes 1 to 2 hours approximately. There are four basic steps involved in knee replacement procedure. Prepare the bone –The damaged part of the cartilage surface lying at the end of the femur and tibia are removed along with a small amount of underlying bone. Position the metal implants – The damaged part of cartilage and bone that is removed is replaced with metal components to recreate the surface of the joint. These metal parts are either cemented or “press-fit” into the bone. Resurface the patella – The under surface of the patella (kneecap) is cut and resurfaced using a plastic button.
Insert a spacer – A medical grade plastic spacer is placed in between the metal components that enables smooth gliding surface. After the surgery, patients will be shifted to recovery room for faster healing and recovery. However, you need to follow specific precautions to avoid any complications and infections.
What should you do?
You should engage in rehabilitation programs that include exercises to your muscles.
You should use assistive tools such as walkers or crutches for walking especially while taking
You should sit only on elevated chairs or toilet seats.
You should lie on your sideways and use pillow between your legs.
You should take care of incision area by keeping it dry and clean.
In case you have burning sensation, use icepack for 10-15 mins.
What should you avoid?
You should avoid overworking and straining the joint.
You should not cross your legs or turn them inward.
You should not bend on your hip while trying to reach objects.
You should avoid kneeling on your new knee joint.
You should not take any medication or drugs without consulting your surgeon.
The results of total knee replacement are often excellent however, you need to follow the instructions suggested by your orthopaedic surgeons correctly after surgery for better and faster recovery.