An average of 790,000 people in America have knee replacements every year. That statistic comes from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. So let’s look at how and why so many people are opting for this procedure and what difference it can make.
The knee joint is quite a complex one, it is referred to as a hinge joint. There are 3 components or sections to the knee. There is the medial compartment which is the inner half of the knee. Secondly, there is the lateral section which is the outer half. The third section is the patellofemoral. This refers to the area behind the kneecap, where the femur and tibia meet.
As well as the bones within the knee there is an array of cartilage and ligaments that allow smooth movement of the knee. So as you can see it’s quite a complex joint.
Need for surgery or not?
The most common diagnosis of knee pain prior to knee replacement is osteoarthritis. This condition can be extremely painful and debilitating. Even everyday tasks become uncomfortable. When non-surgical treatments fail to control the pain perhaps it’s time to discuss the option of replacement. Some younger people may have had a traumatic injury to their knee which may result in a replacement.
Most total knee replacements (also called Arthroplasty) involve replacing the joint surface at the end of the femur and the tibia (thigh and shin bone). Some surgeons may also replace the kneecap, (patellar) with a plastic implant. These new parts are normally cemented into place, keeping them firmly fixed in situ. Your new knee will probably be made of Titanium, though Cobalt Chrome is also widely used.
The surgery itself can vary from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on each individual’s complexity. Your post-operative recovery time in hospital is between 1-4 days only.
Initially after surgery and possibly up to approx. 6 weeks you may experience some pain. This is to be expected due to the bruising from the operation. Regular painkillers should be adequate to ease the discomfort.
Whilst in hospital you will be seen by a physical therapist. They will ask you to continue to follow their guidelines once you have returned home. You may have ongoing sessions with them also for a period of time. You will be encouraged to try to keep the knee moving as this will stop it from becoming stiff. Specific exercises can assist with that.
You will be walking initially with crutches or a frame. Then you will use a stick before hopefully walking unaided by around the 6-8-week mark. You will be taught the safe way to go up and down stairs. You will also be given some do’s and don’ts.
A big mistake a lot of people make is to keep crossing their legs in the first few weeks. You also shouldn’t attempt to kneel until at least 12 weeks post-op as the scar tissue needs time to heal. The therapists will guide you through these times.
Benefits of replacement
The quality of the material used for the knee components and the techniques used have advanced significantly over the last 20 years. The “life expectancy” of the new knee is now around 20 years rather than 10. So a younger person doesn’t have to be so fearful of needing it to be redone many times.
Knee surgery has become highly successful. According to the research presented by the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 2010, more than 95% of patients are satisfied with the results, one-year post-op.
Lear more about Tarabishy Orthopedics; our knee replacement doctor in Brooksville
If you or somebody you know is living with the pain of an arthritic knee, to the point where it is affecting their life, perhaps it’s time to consider a replacement. As with any surgery, you want to make sure you are in safe hands. You want a surgeon who specializes in knee replacement. Dr. Tarabishy is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He is an orthopedic surgeon in Brooksville, FL. He is a specialist in knee replacement with over 30 years’ experience. Visit our website tarabishyorthopedics.com to look at Dr. Tarabishy’s testimonials from his patients to see how much regard he is held in.
Modern medicine means we no longer have to suffer, there are people out there who can and will help us. If you would like more information about our orthopedic services, do not hesitate to contact us.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.