- 31 October 2019
- 604 Views
Total Knee Replacement – What You Need to Know
A knee damaged by arthritis is resurfaced by a surgical procedure called total knee replacement or knee arthroplasty or knee replacement. In this procedure, the bones and cartilage that form knee joint (the damaged shinbone, thighbone and kneecap) cut away and replaced with a prosthesis (an artificial joint or artificial components of the knee joint). The prosthesis is made of metal alloys, polymers and high-grade plastics.
Femur – the thigh bone adjoins tibia – the lower leg bone at the knee joint. The knee joint is a hinge joint that helps in motion. During a total knee replacement, the damaged end of the femur is cut away and replaced with a metal surface (shell) and the damaged end of the tibia is cut away and replaced with a metal stem and plastic piece (spacer).
Total knee replacement helps in restoring knee function and relieving severe pain in cases of severely damaged or diseased knee joints. It is an effective and safe procedure to restore knee function by correcting the deformity. It helps in resuming normal activities.
Total knee replacement is for whom?
Total knee replacement is considered for those who have a severe knee injury or severe arthritis, trauma, post-traumatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other rare destructive diseases of the knee joint with progressive pain. Patients with osteoarthritis and impaired knee function or decreasing daily knee function, chronic pain, inflammation, swelling, stiffness and progressively increasing pain are the candidates for total knee replacement.
Stiffness and severe pain make it very difficult to walk, get in and out of the chair, climb stairs and move downstairs. Difficulty in walking even a few steps without support like walker or cane can limit everyday activities. Patients feel moderate to severe pain while resting as well. Some patients have knee deformity.
To relieve pain and improve functionality people resort to cortisone injections, medications, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and other alternative options, but those cannot help. In such cases, total knee replacement is the best and effective procedure.
The decision to undergo Total knee replacement is cooperative: Your orthopaedic surgeon, you, your family and your family physician are involved in the decision to have a total knee replacement. Your orthopaedic surgeon thoroughly examines and evaluates you to determine whether you are fit and get maximum benefits from the procedure.
Is there any age restriction for the surgery?
There is no age or weight restrictions for the surgery. Orthopaedic surgeons recommend surgery based on the severity of the condition, disability and pain, but not age. Many patients who undergo TKR are between 50 to 80 years age. However, total knee replacement can be successfully done for all age group patients ranging from teenagers, adults to the elderly.
How is the outcome or result of Total Knee Replacement?
For the majority of the people (90%), the results are excellent. They get relief from pain and have improved mobility, functionality and better quality of life. The life expectancy of the majority of the knee replacements is quite promising – which is expected to last for more than 15 years.
Most people can resume activities and routine works after three to five weeks of surgery. They can do daily activities, household chores, shopping and housekeeping. They can drive after three to four weeks after surgery if they feel comfortable sitting in the car and possess good and sufficient power to control clutch, accelerator and brakes provided they are not taking narcotic pain medications and have muscle control.
Several low-impact activities can be resumed after recovery – such as swimming, walking, biking and golfing. However, you should talk to your doctor about the limitations that you may have. It is better to avoid high impact activities. Jumping jogging and other sports that carry risk should be avoided.
Patients after undergoing total knee surgery must follow all the instructions given by their orthopaedic surgeons, nurses and physical therapists. Physical therapy is an essential part of rehabilitation after total knee replacement.