The first strategy for relieving pain and tissue degradation in the knee joint is always physical therapy. But when that fails, or trauma to the joint prompts immediate action, a complete knee replacement is sometimes necessary. Here are five questions you might have about knee surgery, answered:
- What Necessitates Knee Joint Replacement Surgery?
Most knee replacements are performed when severe arthritis causes the bones of the knee to rub together, resulting in severe pain and loss of motion. Arthritis may occur due to age, injury or semi-controllable factors such as obesity.
- What Is the Preparation for Surgery?
Prep for surgery varies depending on the exact surgical method used. The most significant aspect of surgical prep for any knee surgery is either general anesthesia — putting the patient completely under — or epidural anesthesia, which refers to complete numbing below the waist.
- How Do the Surgeries Work?
In traditional knee replacement surgeries, an 8-12 inch incision is made in the front of the knee. The bone is then shaped such that an artificial joint made of plastic or metal can be attached (using cement or special fixatives).
- What Happens After Surgery?
Most people are in the hospital for at least three days following surgery. Full recovery, which involves physical therapy to re-strengthen underused muscles, takes about six weeks.
- How Has Knee Joint Replacement Surgery Improved?
In recent years, minimally invasive surgery has become available, though it is only practiced by a small percentage of orthopedic surgeons because it requires specialized skills and instruments. These surgeons are able to use a technique requiring a much smaller incision, only 3-5 inches long, resulting in less tissue damage, faster recovery time and less scar tissue.
Did you know you can view knee joint replacement surgery videos online? What do you think of the process?