The knee is an important joint in the body because it allows us to bend and straighten our legs, which is essential for walking, running, and other movements. The knee is also a weight-bearing joint, which means it supports the weight of the body and helps us to stand and move.
The knee is a vital and complex joint in the human body that is essential for maintaining mobility and independence, says Dr. Dilip Mehta, a renowned orthopedic surgeon in Jaipur.
The knee joint is subject to wear and tear over time, which can lead to a loss of strength and stability. This is often due to the natural aging process and can be exacerbated by factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, and previous injuries. As your knee becomes weaker, it can become more susceptible to injuries and may not function as well as it did when you were younger, requiring knee replacement surgery.
This blog discusses knee replacement surgery, recovery, and challenges.
Knee replacement surgery
Knee replacement surgery, also called knee arthroplasty, is a surgical technique to replace a damaged or worn-out knee joint with an artificial joint. The artificial joint, or prosthesis, is made up of metal and plastic components designed to mimic the function of the natural knee joint.
The surgery is typically recommended for people who have severe pain and disability from advanced osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that affect the knee joint. A knee replacement surgery helps your diseased, worn-out, or damaged knee joint to regain its ability to support your weight.
“The main goal of a knee replacement surgery is to provide pain, relief, and movement restoration," says Dr. Dilip Mehta, a highly-qualified orthopedic doctor in Jaipur.
Types of knee replacement surgery
In a knee replacement procedure, the diseased portion of the worn-out knee joint is removed and capped with an artificial component. The knee joint comprises 3 compartments: the medial (within the knee), lateral (outside the knee), and the knee cap.
A knee replacement surgery can be either partial or total.
A partial knee replacement, also known as unicompartmental knee replacement, entails supplanting only a part of the medial joint, lateral joint, or knee cap. Knee replacement specialist Dr. Dilip Mehta adds, “Being picky when deciding which knees are suitable for partial replacements is essential because a bad selection is to blame for early failures.”
In a total knee replacement, the surgeon replaces both the inner and outer portions of the knee joint, including the thigh bone (femur), shin bone (tibia), and kneecap (patella). This type of surgery is elective and typically recommended for people who have severe pain and disability from advanced osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that affect the knee joint.
An elective total knee replacement surgery means, apart from a few exceptions, it need not be done on an urgent basis and can be planned around the patient’s important life events.
Is total knee replacement surgery an extensive procedure?
Total knee replacement surgery is a major surgical procedure that should be carefully considered. The surgery involves making incisions in the knee to remove the damaged or worn-out surfaces of your knee joint and replace them with an artificial joint. The surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia and can take several hours to complete.
After the surgery, you will need to undergo a period of rehabilitation to help you regain strength and mobility in your knee.
Jaipur’s reputed orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Dilip Mehta, ensures that he discusses the procedure, and the risks and benefits of the surgery with the patient and their loved ones, so they can carefully consider all treatment options before making a decision.
What to expect after the surgery?
After knee replacement surgery, you can expect a significant improvement in your knee function and pain relief. However, the road to recovery can be challenging, and it is crucial to be prepared for the potential challenges and changes that may occur. Here is a general overview of what you can expect after a knee replacement.
Immediately after the surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room, where the medical professionals will monitor you for any complications. You will be given pain medication to help manage any pain or discomfort you may experience. It is normal to feel some pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected knee, but these symptoms should subside over time with proper care and rehabilitation.
Once you are stable and ready to be discharged, you will be transferred to a rehabilitation facility or sent home with instructions for continuing your recovery at home.
The first few days after the surgery will be crucial for your recovery, and you will need to take certain precautions to avoid any complications. These may include using assistive devices such as crutches or a walker to avoid putting weight on your affected knee, keeping the knee elevated to reduce swelling, and performing gentle range-of-motion exercises to prevent stiffness.
Your doctor will provide you with a comprehensive rehabilitation plan outlining the specific exercises and activities you need to do to regain strength and mobility in your knee. This will typically involve a combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other therapeutic interventions. “The rehabilitation process can take several weeks or months, and it is important to follow your doctor's instructions and attend all recommended therapy sessions to ensure the best possible outcome.” stresses orthopedic specialist Dr. Dilip Mehta.
You may experience common challenges and side effects during the rehabilitation process. These may include:
Pain and discomfort: It is normal to experience some pain and discomfort during the first few days or weeks after the surgery. Your doctor will provide pain medication to help manage this pain and may also advise you to use ice packs or heat pads to reduce pain and discomfort.
Swelling and stiffness: You may also experience swelling and stiffness in your affected knee, especially during the early stages of rehabilitation. Your therapist will show you how to use assistive devices and perform gentle range-of-motion exercises to reduce stiffness and improve your knee's flexibility.
Infection: Although rare, infection is a potential complication of knee replacement surgery. To reduce the risk of infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics and provide you with instructions for proper wound care. It is important to follow these instructions carefully and contact your doctor if you experience any signs of infection, such as redness, warmth, or drainage from the wound.
Blood clots: To reduce the risk of blood clots, your doctor will likely prescribe blood thinning medication and instruct you on moving around and avoiding prolonged periods of inactivity. It is essential to follow these instructions carefully and contact your doctor if you experience any symptoms of a blood clot, such as swelling, pain, or warmth in the affected leg.
After completing the rehabilitation process, you can expect a significant improvement in knee function and pain relief. You should be able to perform most daily activities, such as getting up or sitting down, walking, going up the stairs, with minimal discomfort.
Well-known Joint surgeon Dr. Dilip Mehta says that it is vital to continue your rehabilitation exercises and follow-up care to maintain the gains you have made and prevent any future complications.
Knee replacement surgery is typically recommended for people with severe pain and disability from advanced osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage that cushions the knee joint wears away, causing the bones to rub against each other. This condition can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty with movement.
Older individuals need to maintain a healthy weight, stay physically active, and manage any underlying medical conditions to help keep their knees strong and healthy.
In conclusion, a knee replacement can significantly relieve knee pain and improve your knee function. However, the road to recovery can be challenging, and it is essential to be patient and strictly adhere to the aftercare instructions.
If you or a loved one is considering knee replacement surgery in Jaipur, please do not hesitate to consult top-notch orthopedic specialist, Dr. Dilip Mehta, for safe and effective treatment options.
Because each patient is different, Dr. Dilip Mehta strives to provide you and your family with the finest personalized care possible. Each patient has a full consultation and assessment to address their aches, mobility, and concerns before any operations.