Everything You Need to Know About Knee Replacement
Everything You Need to Know About Knee Replacement
Knee Replacement

Everything You Need to Know About Knee Replacement

A total knee replacement appears to be a one-stop-shop, similar to purchasing a new tire for your car. Unfortunately, surgeons are still unable to restore a knee that has been devastated by arthritis to its former glory. And anyone considering a total knee replacement, also known as total knee arthroplasty, should weigh the risks and benefits of the procedure.

After a total knee arthroplasty, most individuals report knee pain relief and increased mobility. However, one out of every five patients continues to experience some discomfort or has less function than expected.

One of the most successful surgical procedures in medicine is complete knee replacement. The 20% of patients who are dissatisfied may have something to do with their expectations.

Joint replacement is a long-term solution that comes with risks. Surgical complications such as blood clots and infections are possible. Recovery can sometimes be tough and time-consuming.

However, for tens of thousands of people, the damage caused by osteoarthritis is so severe that joint replacement is their only alternative. The majority of people who have surgery report decreased discomfort and a considerable increase in their psychological well-being and quality of life. The benefits to your physical and emotional health could be substantial.

What can patients expect?

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania determined the top expectations of total knee replacement patients in a December 2015 survey published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:

  • Pain relief

  • Improved walking ability

  • A return to activities such as sports

In addition, people were also hoping to notice improvements in:

  • Psychological well-being

  • Sexual activity

  • Social interactions

  • Employment resumption

The researchers also discovered a number of pre-operative risk factors and patient characteristics linked to post-operative discontent. Mild to moderate arthritis, severe discomfort during basic range-of-motion exercises, a desire to return to high-impact activities, and narcotic use were among the causes.

Obese individuals, as well as those with diabetes, lung disease, back pain, or depression, maybe less happy than those who are in better health. Doctors may need to assist those patients in managing their expectations more effectively.

When is it time?

It might be difficult for many people to determine when knee replacement surgery is necessary. When conservative pain-relieving measures such as medications, lifestyle adjustments, and physical therapy are no longer effective, you should consider a knee replacement.

The longer you wait, the more your bone and cartilage may deteriorate. As the knee's natural shape deteriorates, more complex surgery will be required to restore it.

Furthermore, it's best to get knee replacement surgery when you're in good health. Surgery may be riskier if you wait and develop medical difficulties later. If you are unable to move because of increased discomfort, your muscles will weaken, making rehabilitation more difficult. Other characteristics of aging, on the other hand, can put you at an increased risk of complications.

What to expect during recovery

Your journey to recovery begins even before you have surgery. You'll want to do everything you can to boost your health. Exercises that strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee can help it become more stable. Losing weight will help if you're overweight because less weight implies less stress on the knee. Excess flesh can also make the procedure more challenging.

However, even seemingly unrelated health issues can have an impact on knee surgery. Periodontitis, or gum disease, for example, can be dangerous because bacteria from the mouth can move to the joint and cause infection.

A physical therapist will begin working with you the day after your surgery, whether it is the same day or the next. You'll try to walk as soon as possible, putting as much weight on the leg as possible. However, complete healing will take time. Many patients start with crutches or a walker, then switch to a cane for a while.

Most patients can walk normally after three to four weeks, depending on their fitness and how well they follow their therapist's instructions.