Total Knee Replacement

Total Knee replacement surgery is also known as knee arthroplasty. It is a surgical procedure for resurfacing a damaged knee caused by arthritis. 

Plastic and metal parts are used in this process to cap the bone ends that form the knee joint together with the kneecap. This surgery is advisable for a patient who has severe knee injury or arthritis.

Knee replacement surgery aims to reemerge the knee joint parts that are damaged and cause severe pain. Are you looking for a doctor consultation? 

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Total Knee Replacement

The goal of knee replacement surgery is to resurface the parts of the knee joint that have been damaged and to relieve knee pain that cannot be controlled by other treatments.

 In this surgery, the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee which have been worn out over time are replaced with a prosthesis to alleviate any pain and discomfort it is causing the individual. 

Knee arthroplasty is used to surgically treat conditions affecting the knee bones such as Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, or Traumatic arthritis.

Total Knee Replacement:Pre-Procedure Precautions

  • A full physical examination will be conducted by the doctor to see if the patient is in good health to undertake the surgery. - The patient’s medical history is thoroughly studied so as to avoid any complications arising during or after the surgery.
  • Medications such as blood thinners are advised to be stopped, a week before the surgery is due to take place.
  • The patient is to fast for a minimum of 8 hours before the surgery

Before the actual surgery takes place, the doctor explains the different types of the prosthesis which can be used. There are two types of prostheses that can replace knee bones. They are: 

  • Cemented Prosthesis: The prosthesis is attached to the knee bones using surgical cement.
  • Uncemented Prosthesis: The prosthesis is adjoined to the knee bone using a porous surface. This surface allows the bone to grow and attach itself naturally to the prosthesis.
  • The prosthesis is a combination of 3 major components. These are: 

    • The tibial component: The part of the prosthesis which is to be attached to the shin bone or the lower leg bone.
    • The femoral component: The part of the prosthesis which is to be attached to the end of the thigh bone or the upper leg bone.
    • The patellar component: The part of the prosthesis which is to be attached to the knee cap. 

    Total Knee Replacement:Procedure

    • This procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia.
    • The surgical site is disinfected and an incision is made. - The doctor will remove the damaged surfaces of the knee joint and resurface the knee joint with the prosthesis. - The incision will be closed with stitches or surgical staples.
    • A drain may be placed in the incision site to remove the fluid.
    • A sterile bandage or dressing will be applied. 

    Total Knee Replacement:Post Surgical Care

    • This part of the process mainly involves physical therapy. This is prioritized such that the body is able to adjust to the new prosthesis.
    • The therapy begins with a Continuous Passive Motion machine which moves the knee joint through a range of motions while the patient is confined to their bed.
    • Later, when they are able to start walking the physiotherapist starts with the planned exercises and workouts to help move the joints.

    • Pain killers are usually prescribed by the doctor so as to counter the pain felt during therapy and exercise. - For a better and safer recovery at home, many modifications are to be done to the house. These could be:
      • Raising the toilet seat. 
      • Keeping a shower bench or seat in place. 
      • Attaching proper and grippy handrails to the stairs at home to prevent any injuries from taking place. 

    Risks of Total Knee Replacement:

    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Blood clots in the legs or lungs.
    • Loosening or wearing out of the prosthesis.
    • Fracture.
    • Continued pain or stiffness

    Symptoms of Total Knee Replacement:

    • Osteoarthritis - a degenerative joint disease that affects mostly middle-aged and older adults, may cause the breakdown of joint cartilage and adjacent bone in the knees. 

    • Rheumatoid arthritis - causes inflammation of the synovial membrane and results in excessive synovial fluid, can lead to pain and stiffness.

    • Traumatic arthritis - injury that may cause damage to the cartilage of the knee.

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