Knee replacement surgery or knee arthroplasty (ARTH-row-plas-tee) is a surgical procedure performed to relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased knee joints. A number of knee replacement prostheses and surgical techniques are available for orthopedic surgeons in the medical world. The selection of perfect surgical procedure depends on the age, weight, size, and shape of the affected knee, activity level, and overall health of the patient.
An orthopedic surgeon assesses the range of motion, stability, and strength of the affected knees. He asks the patient to perform X-rays to know the extent of the damage. After which right surgical technique is selected. The procedure usually involves cutting or incision of the damaged bone and cartilage from the thighbone, shinbone joining at the knee and kneecap, which is then replaced with an artificial joint (prosthesis). It is prepared from metal alloys, polymers, and high-grade plastics. Types
There are three types of surgery-
1. Partial knee replacement surgery- In this procedure, only the part of the damaged or arthritic knee is removed or replaced. It has an advantage that it requires a smaller cut resulting in less bone, less blood loss, and less pain during recovery than other procedures.
2. Bilateral knee replacement surgery- In this procedure, the replacement of both of the knees is done at the same time. An advantage of bilateral knee replacement is that this procedure and recovery process happens once if both the knees are affected. However, recovery takes a longer time, and much more assistance is required during healing.
3. Total knee replacement surgery-During this procedure, a surgeon removes some bone and cartilage from the areas of the thighbone (femur) and shinbone, at the knee joint and replaces the knee area of the femur with a metal implant and the knee area of the shinbone with a plastic implant.
Candidates for Knee Replacement surgery
The potential candidates of knee replacement surgery are who have following ailments –
1. Severe pain caused by osteoarthritis.
2. Problems related to climbing stairs, walking and getting in and out of chairs.
3. Knee pain even at rest
4. Failure of other medical treatments Procedure
Knee replacement surgery is done under general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia to make the patient unconscious. The patient is given an intravenous antibiotic before, during, and after the procedure to prevent infection after surgery.
During this procedure, the affected knee is bent, and a cut of 6-10 inches long is made on it. The damaged joint surfaces are cut and removed. Then, the parts of the artificial joint are attached to the joint surfaces. The surgical area is then bent and rotated to ensure the proper function of the joint. It is then closed, and the whole procedure may take two hours to complete.
After the surgery, the patient may have to stay in the hospital for a few days. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines are prescribed to control pain and inflammation. The patient is advised to exercise under the supervision of a physiotherapist and gradually intensified to achieve the full range of motion of the knees. Recovery
Most patients recover in three to six weeks after this surgery. The patient can resume his most daily activities, such as shopping and light housekeeping in this period. They can continue driving around three weeks. Most knee replacements remain functional up to 15 years or more. Advantages
Knee replacement relieves dramatic pain for more than 90 percent of patients with the best outcomes. It boasts one's activity level as it allows the affected person to participate in everyday physical activities such as walking, swimming, bicycling, and other activities that he used to do before the knee ailments. Risks
Knee replacement surgery has the following risks:
• Blood clots in the leg vein or lungs
• Nerve damage
• Heart attack