Do You Need A Total Knee Replacement?
If your knee is severely damaged and non-surgical treatments, like medications and walking support, are not working, your doctor might suggest that you get a total knee replacement surgery. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding on why you might need a total knee replacement, the logistics behind the surgery and recovery, and how Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants can help you.
Why Do People Need Total Knee Replacements?
Of course, each and every person has a different case when it comes to knee injuries. For one person, they might be able to heal their knee injury by simply taking medications, going to physical therapy, or using a cane or walker to help you walk around. Whereas another person might require a much more invasive procedure in order to heal. Even though most patients who require knee surgery are between the ages of 50 and 80 years old, there is no age or weight restriction determining whether or not you could be a candidate for total knee replacement surgery. This means that your doctor will evaluate your situation to determine what treatment will prove most beneficial.
The most common reason why people require total knee replacements is because they suffer from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. This type of arthritis occurs when the cartilage that protects your bones wears down as time goes on. The most common joints to be affected by osteoarthritis include your knees, hips, spine, and hands. Of course, there are other reasons as to why people require total knee replacements; however, osteoarthritis is just one of the most common reasons for needing this type of surgery.
Other reasons as to why your doctor might recommend knee replacement surgery include the following:
- Severe knee pain that limits normal, everyday activity. Activities might include walking, climbing the stairs, or even sitting up from a chair.
- Other treatments are not improving your symptoms. These treatments might include cortisone shots, physical therapy, other types of surgery, or anti-inflammatory medications.
- Moderate to severe pain in your knee even while resting or relaxing your knee.
How To Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery
If your doctor does determine that you would make a great candidate for total knee replacement surgery, there are some ways that you can prepare for your surgery.
- Medical evaluation. Once you and your doctor have decided that you would benefit from getting total knee replacement surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon might ask you to schedule a physical exam prior to surgery. This physical will ensure that you are completely healthy enough to undergo surgery.
- Medications. Prior to surgery, make sure to tell your surgeon all of the medications that you are currently taking. Then, your surgeon will tell you whether or not you need to stop taking certain medications before going into surgery. Sometimes, depending on the type of medication and side effects, it can interfere with surgery.
- Home planning. Once you are out of surgery, you will definitely not be back to feeling your best right away. Recovery will take time. You might even need to add safety things around your house to make it safe to walk around your house. For instance, you might need to add safety bars or secure handrails in your shower, buy a stable chair with a firm seat cushion, get rid of loose carpets or cords or anything else that you might trip over, and even temporarily move to a different room that is easier to get to.
What Are The Basic Steps That Occur During A Total Knee Replacement Surgery?
During surgery, you will most likely be put under general anesthesia or given a regional nerve block anesthesia. Typically, the surgery should only take 1–2 hours to complete. Once the surgeon gets rid of the damaged cartilage and bone, they will put in a new metal and plastic implant to re-align your knee, making it functional again. After surgery is complete, you will be moved to recovery for a few hours. Once you have recovered from anesthesia, you will be discharged and sent home.
What Are The Risks of Knee Replacement Surgery?
Like any type of surgery, knee replacement surgery does come with possible risks. Risks might include the following:
- Heart attack
- Nerve damage
- Complications from anesthesia
- Blood clots in the lungs or leg
If you notice that you have a fever greater than 100 degrees F, shaking chills, increased tenderness, swelling, redness, or pain in the knee, or drainage from the surgical site, contact your doctor immediately. These signs could mean that you have an infection from surgery.
What Is The Recovery Like for Total Knee Replacement Surgery?
As you recover at home, there are some things to be aware of.
- Because of surgery, you will have stitches, staples, or sutures underneath your skin at the front of your knee. You will get them removed several weeks after surgery. As you recover, you will want to avoid soaking your surgery site in water to avoid irritation.
- After surgery, it is quite common to experience some loss of appetite. By eating a balanced diet, with iron supplements, you will help promote healing and muscle strength.
- Of course you don’t want to overexert yourself too soon after surgery; however, you also don’t want to turn into a slug as you sit at home recovering. As time goes on, you can gradually work your way back into living a more active life. For instance, that will start with slow walks around your home, sitting, standing, or climbing stairs, and attending physical therapy to help regain strength and range of motion in your knee.
Total Knee Replacement at Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants
Total knee replacement recovery can be quite painful. At Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants, we understand how crucial the recovery stage is when it comes to ensure a proper recovery. Here, we have an excellent team of specialists and surgeons that will help you have a smooth recovery.
If you are suffering from a knee injury or recovering from surgery, contact us today to book an appointment!