It’s not easy walking around with knees that are causing recurrent pain to the point that you have to take medicines regularly to keep the pain at bay. Defected knees make climbing stairs, doing household chores, or even dancing at a party difficult. You are forced to walk around in pain or sit in one corner and not indulge in all the other activities.
But you must also know that you can undergo total knee replacement surgery. Replacing your old and corroded knee with a new one will bring you back to doing anything you want and go anywhere you like without worrying about knee pain or other related issues.
At Santokh Hospital, we conduct knee replacement surgery assisted with advanced technologies, leading to a pain-free procedure. Let’s find out all about total knee replacement surgery.
What is Knee Replacement Surgery?
A knee replacement surgery, also called knee arthroplasty, is a procedure whereby the damaged parts of the knee are replaced with metal or plastic parts of the same dimension. This surgery is mostly rendered when there is pain and stiffness in the knee due to osteoarthritis. The advancements in technology allow knee replacement experts to substitute either the entire knee assembly or some parts of it with new ones.
This surgery is often the last resort when other treatments, lifestyle changes, and physiotherapies have failed to deliver results. The metal or plastic parts used in the surgery are attached to the ends of bones forming the knee joint and the kneecap. After surgery, knee replacement benefits include diminished pain, ease in walking, and doing all the chores. Generally, total knee replacement surgery is performed on aged individuals or accident patients.
Anatomy of the Knee
The knee’s structure comprises the lower end of the thigh bone or femur, the upper end of the shinbone (tibia), and the kneecap (patella). These three bones are joined by articular cartilage, enabling the bones to move easily.
One commonly found issue in knee pain is cartilage loss, which wears away with age-leading osteoarthritis. As the cartilage wears away, the knee softens, and the knee bones rub against each other, causing pain and stiffness.
In addition to the cartilage, the knee bones are joined with ligaments. These are fragile threads holding the femur and tibia. Issues with any of the parts of the knee can cause adverse effects, which, if not checked on time, can cause the individual to undergo knee replacement surgery, total or partial.
Types of Knee Replacement Surgeries
Total knee replacement surgery is one of the types of surgeries doctors recommend based on the patient’s condition. Where total knee replacement surgery is the most complex and time-consuming, there are other surgeries recommended by surgeons as well:
Unicompartmental Partial Knee Replacement
Unicompartmental partial knee replacement surgery is recommended when issues persist only on one side of the knee, which in most cases is the inner side. The three knee compartments must be in excellent condition for the knee to function properly.
Issues in any compartments may be corrected with a partial knee replacement. A partial knee replacement also means less time required for the surgery and recovery. However, one of the issues with partial knee replacement is that for this procedure to happen, the knees must have strong ligaments.
Also, when a patient undergoes partial knee replacement, our records show they eventually have to undergo a total knee replacement surgery. The need for total knee replacement surgery can arise after ten years, or it may never happen.
The kneecap replacement surgery includes replacing the knee cap under the surface and groove (also called trochlea). Mostly, kneecap replacement is required when these parts are affected due to arthritis. However, the progression of arthritis can cause damage to other parts of the knee, which means eventually, the patients might also need to undergo total knee replacement surgery
Complex or Revision Knee Replacement
This is required at the time of the second or third joint replacement surgery in the same knee. This type of surgery is also required when the patient has severe arthritis. Moreover, when individuals have major bone loss due to an accident or arthritis, this surgery is required.
Doctors may also recommend this surgery when there is a major deformity in the knee or when the main knee ligaments have become weak.
You might have noticed that once an individual has begun to suffer from issues like arthritis, major bone loss, accidental fractures, etc., at some point in time, they might have to undergo total knee replacement surgery.
Are There Any Risks and Complications of Total Knee Replacement Surgery?
Every surgery, no matter how minor or easy it is, can run into some complications and have risks. After all, the surgeons are operating on the most complex machines ever made. Even the tiniest of mistakes can lead to frightening results.
A knee replacement surgery doesn’t look like much as the surgeons are working on the knee, an area away from the sensitive organs of the body. However, even in this type of surgery, serious complications can occur. Here are the knee replacement risks and complications of a total knee replacement surgery.
- Infections: After the surgery is complete, infections can occur in the wound around the prosthesis. It can take two days, two weeks, or even two years for the infection to manifest. Minor infections can be treated with antibiotics, but major and deep infections may need surgeries or deep incisions. Any type of infection erupting from the surgery area can spread to other parts of the body as well.
- Blood Clots: These are some of the most common complications when blood clots form in the leg veins. While they are common, treating these clots is essential. If these clots travel to the lungs, it can become life-threatening.
- Nerve or Tissue Damage: Nerve or tissue damage can occur during the surgery. However, such damage can be treated during the surgery only. If not, nerve and tissue damage will heal afterward.
- Issues with the New Knee: The total knee replacement surgery is done to improve the quality of life and bring the knee back to normal functionality. However, issues can persist with the new knee and cause problems with bending the knee, pain, stiffness, and the new knee is unable to let the patient walk and stand.
However, for these issues, simple medication and physiotherapy can prove to be an effective treatment option.
The Before, During, and After of Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Every surgery has three stages, and for each surgery, the patients need to be prepared physically and mentally. Here’s what you can expect in these three stages;
Before the Surgery
- Diagnostic Tests are required to ensure that the patient is healthy enough to undergo surgery. Patients with prior chronic conditions like heart disease, lung issues, cancer, etc., need detailed evaluation.
- The doctors will take blood samples, and urine samples, and conduct an electrocardiogram.
- If the patient is taking any medication, the same needs to be shared with the surgeon and doctors. The patients are also asked to fill out a form or convey to their doctor about any sort of allergies or sensitivity to any sort of medications.
- We recommend that patients start preparing for how they will conduct day-to-day activities after the surgery. After the surgery, the patients will be able to walk with a cane, crutches, or a walker during knee replacement recovery. Hence, it is ideal to ask others for help even before the surgery happens.
- One day before the surgery, the patients are asked to fast at least 8 hours before the surgery time. At Santokh Hospital, we also set the patient’s consultation with a physical therapist to discuss the rehabilitation.
At home, you must prepare the premises keeping in mind your safety and precautions after the surgery. Install safety bars in the shower and bath, secure the stairway handrails, and have a chair in the living room and the bedroom with a firm seat and cushion. Place a shower bench in the bathroom and temporarily remove all the carpets and cords in the house.
- The procedure begins with general anesthesia to put the patient to sleep. Based on the time required and the complexity of the procedure, the anesthesia team will decide the dosage.
- The surgery usually takes between one to two hours. The surgeons will remove damaged cartilage, ligaments, and bones replacing them with new plastic or metal parts.
- With the surgery complete, patients are moved to the recovery room. Once they gain consciousness, they are shifted back to the private room.
After the Surgery
Stay at Hospital
- The patients have to stay in the hospital for a few days. During this time, the doctors keep a close eye on the patient’s general health and their knee.
- Pain medication and pain management procedures are implemented. Preventing and managing pain is a major part of the doctor’s schedule after the surgery is complete.
- Along with pain management, doctors also focus on blood clot prevention. With this, they also focus on decreasing leg swelling, which is a common effect of the surgery and can be easily managed.
- While in the hospital, physical therapy begins after a few hours of surgery. The physical therapists will teach specific exercises depending on the age, knee health, and other factors. The key is to encourage movement.
When At Home
Effective recovery after the knee surgery depends a lot on how you manage everything after being discharged.
- First of all, patients will have to focus on wound care. After a knee replacement surgery, there will be stitches or staples binding the wound. Refrain from soaking the sutures and staples in the water.
- It is common to experience some loss of appetite after the surgery. Hence, maintain a balanced diet, which also includes an iron supplement.
- Continuing the exercises taught by the physical therapists, it’s essential to exercise at home. With regular exercise for a few weeks, it’s possible to return to a normal functioning daily routine within 3 to 6 weeks.
- Common exercises include gradual walking and doing small chores like standing, sitting, and climbing stairs without any help.
How to Recover Quickly After Total Knee Replacement Surgery?
The decision to undergo knee replacement surgery won’t be an easy one, but it also becomes essential for some individuals. When the knees start to hurt, and the pain increases progressively, affected people are left with limited options.
However, once the surgery is complete, everyone will expect to return to normal functioning as quickly as possible. While it can take between three to six weeks for the patient to regain full mobility, here are a few recommendations for an effective and speedy recovery.
Physical therapy and exercise is fundamental to a quick recovery. Make sure to include knee-strengthening exercises in the routine. These exercises help with reducing scar tissue and encourage a higher range of motion.
Some of the exercises important for recovery include;
In addition to these exercises, foot and ankle exercises or movements are encouraged. However, these must happen immediately after the surgery. Foot and ankle exercises help increase the blood flow to the legs and help prevent swelling or clogging. At Santokh Hospital, our resident physical therapists and their assistants can show the patients and their caretakers how to perform these exercises.
Diet After Surgery
Before discharging, the doctors will visit the patient to guide them through a faster recovery. Diet is an important part of the recovery process; hence, eating foods effective for a better recovery is recommended.
The patients must take calcium-rich foods as a part of their recovery process. Calcium is critical to building strong bones, and it also helps in the movement of blood through blood vessels.
In addition to this, the patients need food rich in iron. Hence, seafood, nuts, and seeds are an important part of the diet. Plus, fortified breakfast cereals, spinach, and beetroot are also recommended.
Lastly, fiber-rich vegetables should be a part of the patient’s diet post-surgery. As vegetables are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, consuming enough fiber will prevent constipation and ensure regular bowel movement.
The ways and means for a speedy recovery after total knee replacement surgery are many. You must always consult the surgeon, physical therapist, dietician, nutritionist, and doctor to finalize an exercise and diet plan.
How Long Will the Artificial Knee Last?
When a foreign element is attached to the natural body form, there is some suspicion in the patient’s mind about the end result. However, if you have a team of great doctors and surgeons at your disposal, the patients won’t have to worry about anything.
Generally, the new knee joint should last for 10 to 20 years. However, a lot depends on the patient’s capability to maintain and take care of the new knee joint. Anyone with an artificial knee joint must refrain from doing rigorous manual work after the surgery as it increases the chances of the existing knee joint dysfunction or breaking.
A total knee replacement surgery replaces the existing old knee joint with a new metal or plastic-based joint. The new knee joint will function just as the natural joint, but it can take some time for the patient to get adjusted to the new joint.
Regular exercising, a healthy diet, and proper care can ensure that the new joint does not cause any issues. After the surgery, the patients will experience pain and discomfort, which can be easily managed with medication and proper care.
At Santokh Hospital, we have an experienced and expert team of surgeons and doctors for knee replacement surgery. Our doctors and surgeons have received extensive training, and we use the industry’s best artificial knee joints. With us, you can get a new knee joint at affordable prices and unlimited access to our expertise.