By Dr. Vivek Patil, Orthopaedics
Knee replacement surgery is a surgical procedure that is used to replace a diseased or damaged knee with an artificial joint. The replacement knee may last up to 20 years, especially if it is properly cared for. This type of a surgery is recommended only when the knee joint is extremely worn out or damaged that reduces mobility and cause intense pain. Usually the most common cause of knee replacement is osteoarthritis.
Some other causes wherein you may require knee replacement surgery are:
- Hemophilia: It is a condition that prevents the blood from clotting.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune condition wherein you experience inflammation of the joints.
- Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis that causes stiffness and pain in the joints.
- Injuries to the knee
Are you a suitable candidate?
A knee replacement surgery is a major surgery; it is the last line of treatment, provided other treatments such as physiotherapy and medications do not work. Severe pain, an inability to carry out routine tasks and stiffness are some of the reasons why the doctor may ask you to undergo a knee replacement surgery.
There are two types of knee replacement surgery:
- Total knee replacement surgery: In this surgery, both the sides of the knee are replaced.
- Partial knee replacement surgery: In partial knee replacement surgery, only one side of the knee joint is replaced.
The surgery starts with the administration of anesthesia. An incision is made on the frontal area of the knee, following which the damaged portion is gotten rid of. The empty surface is now shaped in a particular way to encase a plastic or metal joint. The artificial joint is then inserted and fit into the bone with a special type of cement.
Post-surgery hospital stay will be around 3-5 days, although this can vary. Once back home, you need to be weary and cautious to not attempt anything that hampers the process of recovery. You might require crutches or other mobility supportive equipment for the first few weeks. Certain knee strengthening exercises will be recommended by the physiotherapist. A complete recovery may take anywhere between 12-24 months, depending on the severity of the damage.
What are the risks?
The risks of knee replacement surgery are:
- Infections at the site of the incision
- Unexpected bleeding
- Stiffness of the knees
- Knee pain
- Formation of blood clots
- Damage to the nerves around the joint