Orthopaedics: What is knee replacement surgery?

September 9, 2020

Replacement knee surgery can help patients whose knee or knees have degenerated due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or post-traumatic arthritis when an injury has damaged the knee. It is considered a routine procedure. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of knee arthritis and can result in significant pain and disability. Symptoms are often worse with weight-bearing, and in advanced cases, even daily activities can become a challenge. Knee replacement surgery restores the weight-bearing façade of a damaged, worn, or diseased knee joint. The aim is to remove pain and restore mobility. It is also known as knee arthroplasty, or “knee resurfacing.”

Why should one go for knee replacement surgery?

Knee replacement surgery is a treatment for pain and disability in the knee. The most common condition that results in the need for knee replacement surgery is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage. Damage to the cartilage and bones limits movement and may cause pain. People with severe degenerative joint disease may be unable to do normal activities that involve bending at the knee, such as walking or climbing stairs, because they are painful. The knee may swell or “give-way” because the joint is not stable.

Rheumatoid arthritis, also called inflammatory arthritis, the membrane around the knee joint to become thick and inflamed. Chronic inflammation damages the cartilage, causing soreness and stiffness.

Post-traumatic arthritis is the type of arthritis that is due to a severe knee injury. When the bones around the knee break or the ligaments tear, this will affect the knee cartilage.

The procedure, after procedure and recovery

During the procedure, the surgeon will remove bone and diseased cartilage from where your thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) meet at your knee joint. Those surfaces are then replaced with a metal implant. A piece of special plastic is normally used to replace the backside of the kneecap and finally, this same plastic material is placed in between the two metal parts.

These days, robotic surgery has become a huge success. Specialist Hospital has the reputation for being the first private hospital in the State to offer robotic orthopaedic procedures for patients requiring a partial and total knee replacement or total hip replacement, by making use of Navio Systems @ Specialist.  The robotic system allows for much more accurate placement of your implants compared to traditional methods, meaning that you will have a more natural feeling knee post-partial knee replacement and smaller differences in leg lengths after a total hip replacement

Most patients spend 2–3 nights in the hospital following a total knee replacement. The doctor will prescribe pain medication and will monitor you for complications. Shortly after your operation, a physical therapist will start weight-bearing therapy, including standing and walking and a combination of physical and occupational therapy to help you adapt to your new knee

You will need to continue these exercises at home. Patients can normally drive again after 4 to 6 weeks, and return to work after 6 to 8 weeks. Physical therapy may be provided for 3 months.Patients must comply with the instructions given by doctors, nurses and the physical therapist.

Even after the surgery, the patients will be advised to take iron supplements to aid wound healing and muscle strength. It is also advised not to bend down and lift heavy things, at least for the first few weeks. It is better to use crutches, a walking stick, or a walker until the knee is strong enough to take your body weight. Moreover, all medications according to the instructions

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