Knee replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which a damaged or worn-out knee joint is replaced with an artificial joint. It is typically performed to relieve severe knee pain and improve mobility when other treatments have been ineffective.
Here’s a general overview of the knee replacement procedure:
Preoperative evaluation: Before the surgery, the orthopedic surgeon will evaluate your medical history, perform a physical examination, and may order imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI scans to assess the condition of your knee joint.
Anesthesia: On the day of the surgery, you will be given anesthesia to ensure that you are comfortable and pain-free during the procedure. The options include general anesthesia (puts you to sleep) or regional anesthesia (numbs the lower body).
Incision: The surgeon will make an incision over the knee joint, usually around 8 to 12 inches long.
Reshaping the bone: The damaged ends of the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) are then carefully removed using specialized instruments. The remaining healthy bone is prepared to receive the artificial components.
Implant placement: The artificial joint, consisting of metal and plastic components, is inserted. The metal implant is typically placed on the end of the femur and the top of the tibia, while a plastic spacer is inserted between them to provide smooth gliding surfaces.
Patellar resurfacing (optional): In some cases, the undersurface of the kneecap (patella) may also be resurfaced with a plastic button to improve its function and reduce pain.
Wound closure: The incision is closed using stitches or staples, and a sterile dressing is applied.
Postoperative care: After the surgery, you will be monitored in the recovery room before being transferred to a regular hospital room. Physical therapy will be initiated to help you regain knee strength, mobility, and flexibility. Pain medication and other supportive measures will be provided as needed.
Rehabilitation: You will continue with physical therapy both in the hospital and at home to gradually increase the range of motion, strength, and function of your knee. The duration of rehabilitation can vary depending on individual circumstances.
It’s important to note that knee replacement surgery is a major procedure, and the specific details may vary based on the patient’s condition and the surgeon’s approach. Recovery time can vary as well, but most people can expect several weeks to months for a full recovery.
If you are considering knee replacement surgery, it’s essential to consult with an experienced orthopedic surgeon who can evaluate your condition, discuss the potential risks and benefits, and guide you through the process.