Do You Need a Revision Total Knee Replacement?

Do You Need a Revision Total Knee Replacement?


Do You Need a Revision Total Knee Replacement?

Total knee replacement surgery is a very popular and successful surgery. In most cases, people who receive total knee replacement surgery live a more pain free life post-surgery. Obviously, that makes sense because total knee replacement surgery is supposed to alleviate the patient’s pain. However, surgery might not be a complete and permanent fix. Overtime, it is possible for knee replacements to fail. When this happens the knee can become painful. Swollen, and stiff. In this article, you will learn all about revision total knee replacements, like why people need to get them, how to prepare for surgery, what surgery is like, possible complications and risks, and what the recovery process is like. 

Why Do People Need Revision Total Knee Replacements?

As mentioned earlier, it is possible for a total knee replacement surgery to fail as time goes on. If that is the case, your doctor might recommend that you receive a second knee surgery, which is called a revision total knee replacement. During this second knee replacement surgery, the surgeon will remove some or all of the original knee prosthesis and replace it with a new one. 

In order for total knee replacement surgery to be successful, the implant needs to remain securely attached to the bone. During the first total knee replacement surgery, the implant was firmly cemented into position. However, as time goes on, an implant can become loose, causing pain and discomfort. 

It is unknown on the exact reason as to why a knee implant becomes loose overtime. Some possible reasons as to why an implant fails overtime could be due to high-impact activities, being overweight, and the wear of the plastic that sits between the metal portions of the implants. In addition, younger patients who receive knee replacements might “outlive” the life expectancy of their implant. As a result, those younger patients tend to be at higher risk for needing revision total knee surgery due to the wear and tear. 

How to Prepare for Revision Knee Replacement Surgery

Like any major surgery, it is important that you properly prepare yourself before going into surgery. On the bright side, because you’ve been through total knee replacement before, you already have a pretty good idea of what to expect. However, even though this isn’t your first knee surgery, you might still have questions regarding the surgery. 

Here are some general questions to ask your surgeon before going into surgery:

  • Why do I need to get revision surgery? 
  • Would it help my condition if I lost weight?
  • Will I have to get another revision surgery after this one?
  • What is the recovery process like?
  • When can I start doing my usual, everyday activities?
revision tka

What Is The Surgery Like?

In general, revision surgery is more complex because the surgeon has to remove the first knee implant. During revision total knee surgery, the surgeon will get rid of part or all of the damaged prosthetic. If your bone is damaged, the surgeon might have to use a special type of implant to add extra support to the bone. The bone can become damaged because as time goes on, the original implant would have grown into the bone. Also, when the surgeon removes the original prosthetic, there will be a little bit less bone. In some cases, a bone transplant might be needed while putting in the new implant. 

Possible Complications and Risks

Revision surgery can take longer and more complex than the typical surgery. That being said, there can be additional complications with this surgery. So, if you do have to get knee revision surgery, there are some things to look out for or be aware of. 

  • Less stability in the knee
  • Difference in leg length 
  • Reduced function and/or range of motion in the knee
  • Prosthetic failure 
  • Lose bone tissue
  • Infection
  • Implant becomes loose
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Bone fracture
  • Pieces of the prosthetic can break off in the body

What Is The Recovery Like for Revision Total Knee Replacement?

Recovery for revision total knee replacement surgery is basically the same recovery process as your initial total knee replacement. The recovery similarities include the types of medication and attending physical therapy. When you first wake up from surgery, you will definitely need assistance while walking. Assistance meaning someone helping you walk around or using a cane, crutches, or walker to help walk. Of course, this makes sense because you don’t want to put too much pressure on your knee before it is ready to put pressure on. However, you also don’t want to delay walking because it is a crucial step in the healing process. 

Of course, every single person is different so recovery time can vary depending on each situation. Some people take longer to recover, while others have an easier recovery than they did during the initial total knee replacement. 

Revision Total Knee Replacement at Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants 

Total knee replacement can be a tough surgery to go through. Let alone having to go through it another time because the first surgery either didn’t work or it simply was a very long time ago. At Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants, we have a great team of specialists that will be with you every step of the way, from when you are diagnosed with a knee issue to when you are recovering from surgery. 

If you have to get revision total knee replacement surgery, please reach out to us today!