Doctors recommend knee replacement surgery when knee pain and loss of function become very severe, and drugs and other treatments no longer reduce pain. Knee replacement is only recommended after careful diagnosis of your joint problem. Your doctor will request X-rays to inspect your knee bones and cartilage and check the extent of the injury, and assess whether the pain could possibly be from a different source.
Severe knee pain can be caused by degeneration, or arthrosis, of the surfaces of the joint. This is usually a result of gradual wear and tear over the years, but can also be caused by diseases like gout or rheumatoid arthritis, or by abnormalities in the joint caused by injuries to ligaments or cartilage. In the worst cases, there can be a complete loss of the cartilage with bone rubbing on bone.
Orthopedic surgeons usually utilize local anesthesia for knee replacement surgery. The preferences for anesthesia are generally decided on by your doctor, your health in general, and sometimes on what you choose.
Knee Replacement for the Overweight
People of both sexes who are overweight are much more likely to have knee replacement surgery and the more overweight they are, the more likely it is. Men who are obese are five times more likely to have a replacement knee and women are four times more likely to have it. Overweight and obese patients in all age groups represent the highest proportion of recipients for knee replacement surgeries.
Even though knee replacement surgery is often performed on overweight people due to their higher chance of having knee issues, this kind of operation is not recommended to people who are considerably obese because joint replacements may be unable to handle their weight.
Being overweight can make pain worse, and increase the risk of complications. The immediate effect of doing a total knee replacement to a severely overweight person has revealed that the obesity was linked to a longer hospital confinement, the necessity to use rehabilitation services instead of recuperation at home, and an increased risk of complications. The knee replacement turns out to be even more risky as BMI rises, as those who are severely overweight may experience more issues with their wound, infections, and medial collateral ligament avulsion. According to the specialists, the fast track for knee replacement surgeries tends to cater to patients who pose less chance of complications.
Total Knee Replacement
In modern total knee replacement surgery, only the worn-out cartilage surfaces of the joint are replaced. The entire knee is not actually replaced. The purpose of a total knee replacement surgery is to cut away the damaged parts of the bone of the knee joint and replace it with smooth, artificial implants known as prostheses. The prostheses prevent the bones from rubbing together and provide a smooth movement in the knee joint.
The total knee replacement surgery involves cutting away the damaged parts of the knee joint and resurfacing the parts of the bones of the knee that rub together with metal and plastic implants. This surgery creates new joint surfaces, which restores the smooth movement of the knee joint. The edges of the injured bones of the thigh and lower leg and commonly the knee cap are covered with synthetic planes coated with metal and plastic. Doctors usually secure the knee joint components to the bones with cement.
Typically, Orthopedic surgeons may change the whole facade at the edges of the bones of the thigh and lower leg, correcting any alignment abnormalities, lengthening tight ligaments, and removing any bone spurs (osteophytes).
Partial Knee Replacement
It is gradually becoming more common to change the inner knee planes or the outer knee planes, according to the site of the injury. This is referred to as unicompartmental, or partial, knee replacement. People who are good candidates for unicompartmental surgery have better results with this procedure than with total joint replacement.
The advantages of a partial knee replacement include: smaller scars, less pain, shorter hospital stays, a faster rehabilitation and recovery time, and a potentially greater range of motion than with a total knee replacement. Because less of the knee has been altered, patients often report that the knee feels more normal to them.
Recovering From Knee Replacement Surgery
Joint variations as result of osteoarthritis may stretch and injure the ligaments that attach the thigh bone to the bone of the lower leg. After the operation, the man-made joint itself and the uninjured ligaments which were left behind typically provide the knee joint with sufficient strength, thus the injured ligaments are no longer an issue.
The average hospital stay after knee joint replacement is usually three to five days. Most patients can walk comfortably with minimal assistance after about 6 weeks. The total recovery phase can last approximately three months to one year. Although it may be painful, exercising the knee joint is extremely important during this time. The exercising of the joint increases the range of motion of the knee, lessens the discomfort, and will ultimately help the knee become pain free.
I work with several people who need a knee replacement, and several who have had a knee replacement. But they won’t do one until they turn 50 no matter how bad off they are.