Before the knee replacement surgery, you suffer from severe pain, inflammation, and difficulty in walking. After the operation, your mobility becomes much more graceful with less inflammation and pain. Joint stability is increased and there’s no need for walking aids. Life becomes much better and easy after knee replacement.
Arthroplasty or Knee Replacement is a surgical procedure involving the exchange of a damaged and weakened knee joint with an artificial one. It is commonly performed for different types of arthritic knee diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis mostly brought on with old age. Other causes can be accidents which lead to meniscal tears, joint dislocation, ligament tears, and cartilage damage. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee replacement. Genu Valgus and Genu Varus can also be treated by the surgery. Arthroplasty can either be partial (Partial Knee Replacement [PKR]) or complete (Total Knee Replacement [TKR]) depending upon the degree of damage.
The front of the knee joint is exposed by detaching a portion of the patellar tendon. This makes the patella visible which is displaced to aside. In this way, the distal end of the femur and the proximal end of tibia become visible. Cutting guides are used to cut the bones in appropriate shape and size. Cartilages and anterior cruciate ligaments are ligated. Posterior cruciate ligament might also be removed depending upon the type of surgery. While fibular and tibial collateral ligaments are conserved anyway. After this, artificial metallic components are surgically implanted at the joint. A substance called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) cement is used to fix the metallic parts at the exact place. Besides this cement, porous metal prostheses and Osseointegration methods can also be used.
Length of Stay in Destination
This is a 1 to 3-hour procedure after which you have to stay at the hospital for 1 to 4 days. You may suffer from severe pain which needs to be managed with the assistance of your medical Team and physio will be required to help recover the movement. Period of stay in the hospital may vary depending upon the type of surgery. Complete knee replacement needs more care and healing time as compared to partial knee replacement. Also, your physical condition and will power contribute to your stay at the hospital. Once discharged, you will need to stay local for at least 10-14 days for follow up procedures and early-stage physio, as the first week is so important to the full recovery.
6 weeks are required for complete recovery, however, it may take 3 months for inflammation and pain to subside and the knee continues to repair up to 2 years after the surgery. During the first 6 weeks, you cannot walk properly and experience pain and inflammation, therefore, walking aids such as walkers, crutches, walking sticks, etc. will be required. You can start walking again 12 to 24 hours of surgery with the help of your medical assistant. You can drive again 4 to 6 weeks after the operation. The replaced knee can work for 15 years after which metallic parts wear out and start causing problems.
More than 90% of people who have gone through a knee replacement surgery told that they have a tremendous amount of relief in pain and their ability to walk around. 85 to 90% of surgeries are reported to be successful. 60% of these surgeries were undergone by women. Knee replacement surgery can go wrong if there is an infection, however, only 2% of cases are reported in which severe knee joint infections prevailed. Other complications include the formation of a blood clot which can lead to a pulmonary embolism and ultimately death, though this is extremely rare. The risk of infection and clot formation increases with age.
following points should be kept in mind for the aftercare of a knee transplant patient:
- After being discharged from the hospital, follow-ups should be attended regularly.
- Take prescribed medicines to manage pain and Inflammation.
- In the first few days, you have stitches and bandages around the operated part. Avoid contact with water when the bandage is still in contact.
- Make sure you have someone at home to look after you. Someone to help you walk around.
- Use walking aids in the beginning but gradually subside their use.
- Physiotherapy is very helpful. Go for an expert physiotherapist to help you heal faster.
- Do regular exercises to prevent stiffness of the joint. This helps in the smooth movement of the joint.
- Try not to sit with crossed legs. It can be damaging to your new joint.
- Avoid bending at your operated knee.
- Icepacks are useful in reducing swelling.
- Do not sleep with a pillow under your knee. This might result in permanent bending of the joint.
- Follow a healthy diet plan made by an expert. Because a loss of appetite might show up after surgery.
- Avoid the things which can cause infections such as dental procedures.
- Live on the ground floor. Avoid using stairs to prevent falls or any other accident.
Alternatives to a Knee Replacement Procedure
This is the best solution for severe and continuous aching of the knee, but the following are some non-surgical alternatives you may consider first:
- Acupuncture: this is an ancient method that uses needles to stimulate different nerves changing the flow of energy in your body. This helps in relieving pain.
- Prolotherapy: in this therapy, an irritant such as dextrose is injected into the tendon or the ligament. It provides nutrition to the tissue and increases its blood flow. Which results in decreased pain.
- Stem Cell Therapy: stem cells are injected within the joint which regenerates its cartilage. This helps repair the damaged knee.
- Plasma Rich Protein Injections: blood is taken from you and centrifuged to remove platelets which are rich in growth factors. These growth factors are then injected into the joint. Pain relief has been reported using this therapy.
- Hyaluronic Acid Injections: these injections increase the lubrication at the knee joint allowing smooth movements. This reduces pain due to friction.
- Physiotherapy: it increases joint mobility. Exercise should be done under the supervision of an expert physiotherapist for better results.
- Cortisone Shot: steroids are injected into the joint to decrease inflammation which aids in smooth movements.
- Bracing: braces are metallic, leather, or plastic devices that provide external stability and support to the joint. These brace the joint from outside and apply pressure onto it aligning the bones. This reduces inflammation as well as pain.
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