What is Osteoarthritis of the knee?
In the knee joint there is a layer of smooth cartilage on the lower end of the femur (thighbone), the upper end of the tibia (shinbone) and the under surface of the patella (kneecap). This cartilage serves as a cushion and allows for smooth motion of the knee. Arthritis is a wearing away of this smooth cartilage. Eventually it wears down to bone. Rubbing of bone against bone causes discomfort, swelling and stiffness.
What is Knee Replacement?
A knee replacement is a resurfacing surgery rather than replacement. The joint itself is not replaced, as commonly thought, but rather an artificial substitute for the cartilage is inserted on the end of the bones. This is done with a metal alloy on the femur and tibia with a plastic spacer in between them and occasionally the patella (kneecap). Along with the resurfacing any amount of malalignment present, is also corrected.
Why Do People have knee Replacement Surgery?
The purpose of doing a knee replacement surgery is to decrease the pain, improve the movement and alignment of the knee joint. The ultimate aim of the surgery is to improve the quality of life of the deceased person.
How many types of knee Replacements are there?
There are two types, partial and total knee replacement
What is partial knee replacement?
When only one compartment of the knee joint is worn out due to arthritis, it is possible to replace only that part of the joint. This is usually done through a smaller incision and the recovery is also faster as compared to total knee replacement.
When is the right time to undergo a knee replacement?
When the pain hampers your activities of daily living, when the knee joints are severely malaligned or when a patient has been on pain killers for prolonged period, that is the time you should consult your doctor for knee replacement surgery
What Are Alternatives to knee Replacement?
In early stage when the joint is not severely damaged, patients can be managed by non invasive modalities like hot fomentation, short course of anti-inflammatory drugs ,physiotherapy.
But once the joint surface(cartilage) is severely damaged, there is no alternative to this procedure.
How long will my new knee last, and can a second replacement be done?
Knee replacement implants are expected to last for more than 10 -15 years. Not all cases require a second replacement.
But if due to some unforeseen reason the implant loosen then the patient may require a revision surgery.
What are the major risks?
Bleeding and clot formation are the most dreaded complications after joint replacement surgery. These are taken care by prophylactic use of antibiotics and blood thinners. Special precautions are also taken in the operating room to prevent infection.
Should I exercise before the surgery?
Preoperative physiotherapy exercises are always advantageous as they help in hastening the post-operative recovery.
Will I need blood?
Not all patients require blood transfusion. It is only decided after pre anaesthesia check-up, whether a patient will require blood or not.
How long will I be in the hospital?
Most patients are hospitalised one day prior to the surgery and for five days after the surgery
Will I have pain after surgery?
Patients have maximum pain during the first 48 hours after the surgery. During this period patient is kept under continuous monitoring and appropriate measures are taken to decrease the intensity of the pain. Our anaesthetist will discuss with you what pain control option is best for you.
Will I need physical therapy when I go home?
Yes. Physical therapy will continue after you go home with a therapist in your home or at an outpatient physical-therapy facility. The length of time required for this type of therapy varies with each patient. We will help you with these arrangements before you go home.
When will I be able to get back to work?
We recommend that most people take at least one month off from work, even if your job allows you to sit frequently. More strenuous jobs will require a longer absence from work.
How often will I need to see my doctor following the surgery?
Ten days after discharge for suture removal. The frequency of follow-up visits will depend on your progress.