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Knee Replacement FAQ


In total knee replacement surgery, the parts of the bones that rub together are resurfaced with metal and plastic implants. Using special, precision instruments, your surgeon will typically remove the damaged surfaces of all three bones. The replacement surfaces will then be fixed into place. 
The surface of the femur is replaced with a rounded metal component that comes very close to matching the curve of your natural bone. The surface of the tibia is replaced with a smooth plastic component. This flat metal component holds a smooth plastic piece made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene plastic that serves as the cartilage. The undersurface of the kneecap may also be replaced with an implant made of the same polyethylene plastic.

There are many different causes of knee pain, including knee injury or injury to the knee cap, arthritis and infection.

It depends on the problem. Some knee pain can be treated through rehabilitation, other cases may require surgery.

If you have difficulty walking or performing everyday activities such as getting dressed, it may be time to consider knee replacement surgery. Doctors generally try to delay total knee replacement for as long as possible in favor of less invasive treatments. However for patients with advanced joint disease, knee replacement offers the chance for relief from pain and a return to normal activities.

If you and your surgeon decide that total knee replacement is right for you, a date will be scheduled for your surgery. Several things may be necessary to prepare for surgery. For example, your surgeon might ask you to have a physical examination by your regular doctor. 
Because blood transfusions are likely to be needed during your surgery, you may want to donate one unit of your own blood or possibly two units if your surgeon feels it is needed. All preparations for surgery should be discussed with your surgeon.

Knee replacement is only recommended after careful diagnosis of your joint problem. Knee Arthroscopy or microscopic surgery is not helpful once arthritis is advanced. Also, it is not likely that anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone injections will give you the same long term relief that knee replacement will.

The average hospital stay for a knee replacement patient is around 3 days. The average stay for two knees is 5-7 days. If both knees require replacement, it is usually best to have both done at the same time. That way, the total disability will be only slightly longer than the operation for one knee and the problem will be solved in the least amount of time. In some cases, fixing one knee reduces the stress on the other knee, thus giving another two or three years if the arthritis is not too advanced. Each individual case is different.

Recovery varies with each person. You will use a walker for approximately 4 weeks after the operation. You can drive a car in 2-4 weeks. Most people gradually increase their activities and play golf, doubles tennis, shuffleboard, or bowl in 12 weeks. More active sports, such as singles tennis and jogging are not recommended. 
After discharge, there is usually no need for a nursing home. Some patients who live alone may require a short stay at a rehab center for a few days after they leave the hospital. This will depend on how you progress in the hospital, and keep in mind that healing and recovery times vary with each person.

Knee replacement surgery is recognized as a miracle of modern surgery. Most orthopedic experts consider replacement to be the best method of handling arthritis in the knee. Knee replacements have literally put hundreds of thousands of people back on their feet and allowed them to enjoy their golden years.

As with any surgery, there is a risk of complications after knee replacement surgery. However, they are quite rare. To reduce the risk of infection, special precautionary measures are taken in the operating room, and powerful antibiotics are used.

Thanks to advances in medication technology, we are able to keep you very comfortable after surgery. After surgery, any temporary discomfort does not compare to the pain of arthritis endured by most people in months and years before surgery. And because knee replacement patients are not "sick," you will not be treated as such.

Authored By: Dr. S. V. Santpure

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