Knee replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to remove a severely impaired knee join and replace it with an artificial joint (metal and plastic parts).
Overview of Knee Replacement
Total knee replacement is a surgical option for patients with arthritis of the knee. This operation can relieve pain and maintain motion in the arthritic knee joint. Arthritis can affect joints, overtime; the smooth cartilage on the surface of the bones wears away. This can result in pain, inflammation, and swelling of the joints. Knee replacement surgery is a procedure to replace this damaged joint to eliminate this pain and swelling for a long time. Arthritis does not have any kind of full treatment; all kinds of medications and procedures are just temporary and can just slow it down. But surgery can be the last (and maybe permanent) solution for this painful problem.
Type of Knee Replacement
- Total knee replacement (TKR): is the most common procedure- replacement of the both sides of the knee joint- lasts between 1 to 3 hours
- Partial knee replacement (PKR): replacement of only one side of the knee- less blood loss and a lower risk of infection and blood clots- higher chance of more natural movement.
Knee Replacement Recommended For:
- Patients with knee osteoarthritis
- People who have sustained a serious knee injury
- Patients who are not significantly overweight
Before Knee Replacement
Patients should stop taking certain medications such as Aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements prior to the surgery. They should stop smoking a few weeks before and after the surgery. They should stop drinking and eating around 6 hours before the surgery. Also, they may need additional imaging tests, like X-rays and EKG before the surgery.
During Knee Replacement
The patients usually undergo general anesthesia. The surgeon cleans the surgical site and makes an incision in the knee area. The surgeon removes the damaged surfaces of the knee joint and resurfaces the knee joint with the prosthesis. The prosthesis is generally comprised of three components: the tibial component (to resurface the top of the tibia); the femoral [thigh bone] component (to resurface the end of the thighbone); and the patellar component (to resurface the bottom of the knee cap that rubs against the thighbone). After that, the surgeon closes the incision with stitches.
After Knee Replacement
Patients may stay 3 to 5 days at the hospital. They will need help from a physical therapist who will give some exercises to strengthen the repaired knee. They should elevate leg to reduce swelling. Three to six weeks after surgery, they can resume most daily activities. The surgeon may prescribe some painkillers to control the pain.