Knee replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that involves the replacement of a damaged or diseased knee joint with an artificial joint made of metal, plastic, or other materials. Knee replacement surgery can help alleviate pain, restore mobility, and improve quality of life for those suffering from knee problems.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about knee replacement surgery, including the types of knee replacement, the recovery process, and important things to consider before undergoing the procedure.
Types of Knee Replacement
There are two main types of knee replacement surgery: total knee replacement and partial knee replacement. Here’s what you need to know about each type:
Total Knee Replacement: In this procedure, the entire knee joint is replaced with an artificial joint. This is the most common type of knee replacement surgery and is typically recommended for patients with severe knee damage or arthritis.
Partial Knee Replacement: In this procedure, only the damaged part of the knee joint is replaced with an artificial joint. This is a less invasive procedure than total knee replacement and is typically recommended for patients with damage limited to one part of the knee joint.
Knee Replacement Surgery: What to Expect
Before the Procedure: Before undergoing knee replacement surgery, your doctor will perform a thorough examination of your knee and may order diagnostic tests such as X-rays or an MRI. You may also need to undergo blood tests or other medical tests to ensure that you are healthy enough for the procedure.
During the Procedure: Knee replacement surgery typically takes a few hours to complete and is performed under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make an incision in your knee and remove the damaged part of the joint before replacing it with an artificial joint. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples.
After the Procedure: After knee replacement surgery, you will likely spend a few days in the hospital. You will be given pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection. Physical therapy will also be recommended to help you regain strength and mobility in your knee.
Knee Replacement Recovery: What to Expect
Knee replacement recovery time can vary depending on the individual, but most patients can expect to resume normal activities within 4-6 weeks after surgery. Here’s what you need to know about the recovery process:
Weeks 1-2: During the first few weeks after surgery, you will likely experience pain, swelling, and stiffness in your knee. You will need to use crutches or a walker to move around.
Weeks 3-6: By this time, your pain should start to subside. Physical therapy will be recommended to help you regain strength and mobility in your knee.
Months 2-6: By this time, you should be able to resume most normal activities, including walking, driving, and light exercise. However, you should still avoid high-impact activities such as running or jumping.
Important Things to Consider Before Undergoing Knee Replacement Surgery
Here are some important things to consider before undergoing knee replacement surgery:
- The decision to undergo knee replacement surgery should be made in consultation with your doctor. Your doctor will evaluate your overall health, the severity of your knee damage, and other factors before recommending surgery.
- Knee replacement surgery is a major procedure and carries risks such as infection, blood clots, and nerve damage. Your doctor will discuss these risks with you before the procedure.
- Recovery from knee replacement surgery can be a lengthy process and may require several months of physical therapy and rehabilitation.
- Knee replacement surgery is typically recommended for patients who have tried other treatments such as medication and physical therapy and have not experienced relief from their knee pain or mobility issues.
- It’s important to have a support system in place during your recovery, including friends and family members who can help with daily tasks and transportation.
- You may need to make adjustments to your home environment to make it easier to move around, such as installing handrails or a shower seat.