As the term suggests, knee replacement surgery is the surgical procedure of replacing the knee joint. This is performed in patients who have stiff and painful knee that hinders them from doing comfortably even simple activities. This is also a last resort for people who don’t get better even after other forms treatment. If you are suffering from knee problems and you feel like your normal activities are hindered by these, you should undergo preliminary treatment. If these don’t work, you may be a candidate for this type of surgery.
During a knee replacement surgery, you will be put under general anesthesia, spinal or epidural anesthesia, a cut measuring about eight to twelve inches will be made in front of the knee. The part of the knee joint that has been damaged will be removed from the bone surface. This surface will be molded to accommodate an artificial joint that is either metal or plastic in material. This artificial joint is connected to the thigh bone, shin and knee cap with the use of cement or other bonding material. The artificial joint will rely on the muscles and ligaments around for function and support.
What Happens After
After undergoing this surgical procedure, you will be advised to stay in the hospital for about three to five days. Most people who undergo this surgery show dramatic improvement in the function of their knee. They also don’t experience any more pain. The improvement can be noted about a month or two after the procedure. Patients who have this surgery can already stand and walk a little a day after.
But some need the assistance of a walking device like walker, cane or crutches. Others do fine with parallel bars. These are used until the knee is able to fully support the body. Usually, people can walk comfortably with little or no assistance about after six weeks or even sooner if they undergo physical therapy. People can go on with their usual activities except for running and jumping after they have recovered.
Most patients are advised to have physical therapy after the surgery. They are asked to visit a rehabilitation facility where they stay for about seven to 10 days. It can also happen that your doctor would send you home and require you to have physical therapy there. A physical therapist will visit you from time to time to assist you in the rehabilitation process. This one lasts for about one to two months depending on the progress of your recovery.
Be careful about how you move your knees and legs for the first few weeks after the surgery. Don’t pivot or twist your leg. When you lie in bed, keep your knee as straight as possible. Avoid kneeling or squatting. Don’t climb the stairs too often. Follow all precautions instructed by the doctor and physical therapist. Failure to do so may result in dislocation of the new knee joint.