Patients whose knees are severely damaged by injury or arthritis, for them it will be difficult to perform simple activities such as walking or climbing stairs. Patients also start feeling pain while sitting or lying down.
Once the conservative treatments like medicines and walking with support (walker), physiotherapy does not help anymore; the doctor may recommend total knee replacement surgery.
Knee replacement surgery is a very successful and effective operation which is been done since 1968.Damage to the gliding or coating surface called articular cartilage is often reason for a knee replacement surgery. The surgery is also decided considering severity of damage, compromise or not able to do simple activities such as walking and climbing stairs may become difficult. Deformity may also be caused due to the damage to the knee joint cartilage and bone.
Knee osteoarthristis is one of the primary reasons why a doctor might suggest a knee replacement surgery. It can affect every move of the affected person, like climbing the stairs, walking, sitting or even lying down. Though at first, doctors suggest medications other than surgery, surgery is advised when none of them work as they should. Some of the oral medications include acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen etc. there are also creams and ointments that can be rubbed onto the skin or medications can be injected into the joint like the corticosteroid injections. Injections of hyaluronic acid also boost the natural flow of the fluid present in the joints. Other than these, weight loss exercises and nutritional supplements are also suggested to the affected patients. When none of them brings about the desired results, arthroscopic surgery is the best option to go for. In this kind of surgery, the surgeon inserts a thin tube with a small camera on one end, through a small opening in the skin to view the inside of the knee. The damaged cartilage can then be removed. After this, the knee can be cleaned or flushed to remove the loose bone or the cartilage pieces that are responsible for causing the pain. The recovery is not that painful, so people can get back to work after few days. Knee replacement surgery or arthroplasty is needed when the knee joint is worn or damaged to a degree that the usual mobility of the person is affected and there is an excruciating pain even when one rests. Other than osteoarthritis, other conditions causing knee damage are rheumatoid arthritis, gout, haemophilia, bone dysplasias, death of bone in the knee joint after blood supply problems or avascular necrosis, knee deformity with pain and loss of cartilage etc.
A knee replacement is a major surgery so it is only recommended if physiotherapy or steroid injections have failed to bring positive results. Some of the conditions when knee replacement surgery may be offered are:
During Knee replacement surgery patients damaged cartilage or gliding surface is replaced, as well as any loss of bone structure or ligament support. The implants and material used for knee replacement is similar to what is used in a hip replacement surgery i.e. metal or plastic (polyethylene or UHMWPE), metal on metal (MoM), ceramic on plastic (UHMWPE), ceramic on ceramic (CoC)
Most of the patients who undergo total knee replacement surgery have an amazing improvement within 2 months of the surgery. The pain due to the damaged knee joint should have completely gone as during this period a new gliding surface is built.
Patients who undergo knee replacement surgery usually are made to stand and start moving the joint the very next day of the surgery. In about 6 weeks most of the patients start walking without and support. However at times it may take 6 to 10 months for complete recovery after muscle strength returns. Patients with knee replacement surgery can get back to most of the activities.
1. What causes pain even after knee replacement?
Often the implant may get loosened. This is the most common cause of the pain even after years of having a replacement surgery. Palletofemoral or kneecap problems are also a common cause of knee replacement pain.
2. What is the recovery time for a knee replacement?
Most of the successfully operated patients can start caring for themselves or resume their normal work within 3 to 6 weeks. It may take 4 to 6 months or upto an entire year to have a full recovery and appreciate the benefits of a knee replacement surgery.
3. Can one kneel down after knee replacement surgery?
It is always advised not to kneel down immediately after the surgery has taken place. Almost 75% of the patients have been found to kneel down at least 6 months after a primary total knee replacement and 64% of the patients were able to kneel down without pain or mild discomfort.
4. Can you walk after knee replacement surgery?
Most of the patients can stand and resume their basic movements just next day after the surgery. One can start walking with support as often physicians suggest taking the help of this till at least 6th week of the surgery. One can start working on his own after he visits the physician from 4th-6th week of the surgery.
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