How do I know if I need total knee replacement surgery?
Typically, osteoarthritis is the reason for total knee replacement, but others who need the surgery may have experienced some type of trauma to the knee such as a sports injury. Have you been experiencing terrible knee pain for some time? Has your doctor prescribed treatments such as injections and anti-inflammatory medications, but the pain is no better or getting worse? If you answered “yes” to these questions, it may be time to see an orthopedic doctor who specializes in joint replacement for an evaluation. After documenting your medical history, doing a physical examination, your orthopedic doctor will order x-rays. If the x-rays indicate severe damage and prior treatments have not been effective, your doctor may recommend total knee replacement.
What happens during total knee replacement surgery?
During total knee replacement surgery, the patella or kneecap is moved to the side to give the surgeon a better view. The surgeon removes the damaged cartilage and bone and prepares the surfaces so that the new prosthetic joint will fit. The prosthesis is made of metal and plastic parts that are attached to the tibia (shin bone) and the femur(thigh bone). The prosthetic parts are attached to the tibia and femur with bone cement. A medical-grade plastic insert is positioned between the tibia and femur components. The insert supports the body during knee movement. Once the insert is in place, and adjustments are made to provide a comfortable fit for the prosthesis. The patella is returned to its natural position. The surgeon will test the knee’s bend and movement prior to closing the area.
What happens after total knee replacement surgery?
After the surgery, patients are usually encouraged to walk with a walker the same day. A special machine called a CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) is used to move the knee during recovery in the hospital. This prevents scar tissue from forming. The patient will be expected to bend the knee to 90 degrees which will allow sitting in a vehicle seat or chair. If there are no complications such as bleeding or infection, a patient may be able to go home in 1-3 days. After discharge, patients who complete the recommended exercises and physical therapy usually enjoy pain relief and can expect to resume walking and returning to fairly routine mobility within about six weeks. It may take six months to a year to fully recover. After a total knee replacement, an individual should not expect to engage in activities like running or jogging.
If you are experiencing knee pain that prevents you from doing normal activities like going up and down stairs, don’t suffer needlessly. Consult an orthopedic physician about your options.
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To schedule an appointment with one our specialists, contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.
POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!