Total knee replacement surgery has become a familiar and successful orthopedic surgery in recent times, where a knee joint (either posterior cruciate ligament or anterior cruciate ligament) is replaced with an artificial material (metal, ceramic or plastic) to lower relative perioperative morbidity.
Studies show an increased surgery risk in women compared to men due to lowered calcium levels and other essential minerals necessary for maintaining healthy functioning of the knees post menopausal stage. Though these procedures are elective, the prevalent growth of arthritis and related joint problems with age became a major factor supporting the application of these surgeries at a relatively high knee replacement surgery cost.
Knee replacement surgery is recommended for patients whose knee joints are damaged by any kind of diseases related to either joints or trauma or osteoarthritis or joint deformities. Whatever the reason for damage, the excruciating pain and stiffness of the knees leaves patients unable to perform day-to-day activities.
An orthopedic surgeon reviews the patients� medical history and an x-ray and physical examination tests are conducted before suggesting knee replacement surgery as the best option to resolve the pain. There are many surgery packages online from which the patient can choose, following the doctor’s advice.
The basic steps followed in knee replacement surgery are: Along with a small portion of the underlying bone, injured cartilage portions located at the femur and tibia ends are removed. Metal implants are positioned to recreate the surface of the joint by cementing or press-fitting into the bone. The kneecap or the lower portion of the patella is cut and resurfaced with a plastic button. Some surgeons may or may not follow this step as a part of the procedure depending on the age and condition of the patient. A medical-grade plastic spacer is lodged between the metal components to create an even drifting surface.
Risks related to failure of knee replacement surgery include: Blood clots in the knee and leg regions that might move back to lungs causing pulmonary embolism which can, in turn, result in chest pain, shock or a shortness of breath. Side effects of this surgery can also cause minor problems like urinary tract infection, nausea, vomiting, chronic knee pain, or stiffness and bleeding of joints. Anesthesia administered during this surgery may damage the functioning of crucial organs of the body like heart or kidney or liver.
Physical therapy is a vital area of rehabilitation after the knee replacement treatment is complete. While knee replacement solves the intensive knee pain problem in most cases, the rehabilitation and recovery play a crucial role in getting the patient back to a normal lifestyle and resuming the daily routine apart from minimizing the long-term effects, and offering quick healing from the surgery.
The patient can try to stand and walk with the help of artificial devices like crutches or canes. With physiotherapeutic assistance, the patient can try to climb stairs even before being discharged from the hospital with improved flexion and strength. It is suggested not to get involved in high-impact activities like high-intensity cycling, skiing, football, running and aerobics until complete healing takes place. Pain management, blood clot prevention, and physical therapy can all support a positive replacement therapy when put together and help in extending the longevity of knee implant.