By Dr. Sushal Shanthakumar, Orthopaedics
Coping with knee pain is never easy. When the wear and tear of the knee joint are so severe that no medication works, it is the surgery that comes to the aid of the patient. Total knee joint replacement surgery improves the mobility in the affected individuals.
What is knee joint replacement?
Basically, knee joint replacement means replacement of damaged cartilage rather than changing the whole knee joint
In the damage surface (cartilage) of the joint is replaced by a smooth metallic surface on both sides between those metallic smooth surface we place highly cross-linked polyethylene cushion, this creates a smooth and pain-free movement between the joint bones. So total knee joint replacement is basically a surface replacement only.
Who can go for a total knee replacement surgery?
People with damaged knee joints due to severe osteoarthritis, trauma, or degenerative diseases.
When the knee joint pain and stiffness keeps increasing, the daily motion and capacity to conduct activities are restricted to a large extent. Such people can discuss with the doctors about the risks and benefits of the surgery, and go ahead with the same.
Knee joint replacement is usually advised in a patient of age more than 55 or 60 but in some rare situations where the disease is severe, it could be done in the age of 50 also and it should never be done in children.
Can both the joints of a patient replaced simultaneously?
Most of the time joint replacement is done in old patients so it is always safer to go one by one but if the patient is fit medically and the surgeon feels comfortable, both the joints can be replaced simultaneously.
Can it be done in Diabetic and high blood pressure patients also?
Yes, it can be done in hypertensive and diabetic patients also but before surgery, all this should be under control.
Can you continue to take the regular medications that you are taking even before the surgery?
Previous medicines Might be adjusted or discontinued.
When the surgery is planned, the surgeon evaluates the tissues and joints adjacent to the knee for optimal results. Also, the medical history is discussed. In case you are taking blood thinners or aspirin, you might have to discontinue them prior to surgery or they would be adjusted to suit the requirements of the surgery. This is usually done to prevent the risk of excessive bleeding during the surgery.
How long patient has to stay in the hospital after surgery?
Patient is usually kept in hospital for about five days after total knee joint replacement and then he can be discharged on Oral medications.
What do you say about the results of total knee joint replacement?
Results of total knee joint replacements are wonderful, it is the most appreciated surgery in Orthopaedics in which patient satisfaction rates are very high. Patients usually become almost pain-free and his alignment of both knee and deformity of the knee joint is cured permanently.
What is the recovery period after the total knee replacement surgery?
The recovery period is 6 Months.
Usually after a successful knee joint replacement, patient can walk on the second day of surgery with the help of a walker. One can return to daily activities within a short span of 6 weeks. For a few, it might take another couple of weeks. But the pain and swelling subside only after 6 months. Also, there are instructions given by the surgeon about things one shouldn’t do during this period. Walking is an exercise that is permitted, while strenuous exercises and other activities are avoided.
Which types of activities could be done safely after total knee joint replacement?
After total knee joint replacement, patients depending on his physical ability can walk as much as he wants, can climb upstairs and downstairs, can do swimming, can do cycling and even can ride bicycles, two-wheelers and can participate in light sports activities.
After a total knee joint replacement, can we do squatting or cross leg sitting?
After total knee joint replacement patient can do squatting and can sit cross-legged but usually one should avoid these two positions because if a patient uses this two positions repeatedly, the life of joint is decreased.
How to choose a hospital for total knee joint replacement?
This surgery can be done in any City, all you need is in a hospital which has an experienced Orthopaedic surgeon in joint replacement and a dedicated operation theatre( that is a modular operation theatre with laminar air flow system), these are the basic and the most important requirement for a hospital to do a joint replacement.