1. When should I undergo a knee replacement?
While there is no precise formula for determining this, if you are having trouble getting up to carry out your normal activities or suffering from severe pain, you may consider yourself a candidate. Consult your orthopaedic surgeon who will conduct a thorough examination and provide you the necessary advice.
2. Can I avoid a surgery?
Lifestyle modification, physiotherapy, prolotherapy or any other alternative treatment methods may in some cases, help to manage the problem. Your doctor would provide the necessary advice in this regard. But delaying or leaving untreated, this condition can lead to more discomfort and pain.
3. How is the replacement done?
An incision will be made on the top of your knee to expose the damaged area of the knee joint. The size of the incision will be much smaller if a minimally invasive procedure is done instead of the traditional open surgery. During the surgery, the kneecap will be moved aside, the damaged bone and cartilage cut and replaced with metal and plastic components that will combine to form a compatible synthetic joint that minimizes the movement of your natural knee. These are known as implants and comprised of medical grade plastic and metal. The components are then sealed either with bone cement, or using components that will assist in the formation of natural tissues around the joint.
4. How long will the surgery take?
The surgery may be completed in about 1.5 to 2 hours under normal circumstances.
5. Will I be awake during the surgery and should I be concerned about the anaesthesia?
The surgery will be conducted under an anaesthesia, the type of which (general, epidural or any other variant) will be decided by the anaesthetist who will be present during the surgery. While any surgery with anaesthesia has its risks, the chances of any complications are extremely low.
6. How much pain will be there after the surgery?
You will experience some pain after the surgery which will diminish quickly within a couple of days, as your doctor will be managing this aspect with the required medication. Once you move out of the hospital, other painkiller medication will be prescribed for your use during recovery phase of the surgery. Once fully recovered, there will be a significant reduction of pain in your knee, once you engage in the necessary physical activities and exercises prescribed by your physiotherapist.
7. What will be the recovery and rehabilitation process after the knee replacement?
Mostly you will be up and walking in a day or two with the aid of a walker or crutches. A physiotherapist will be helping you bend and straighten your knee within a few hours after your surgery. Once you are out of the hospital, physiotherapy and specific exercises are to be continued at home as directed by your physiotherapist for a few weeks to improve the condition of the knee. You will also be able to discontinue the medication for pain relief by this time.
8. Will I be able to lead an active life after my knee replacement?
You should be able to resume your daily activities like walking or bathing after a few days of the surgery. The normal rehabilitation period for the surgery is within 6-12 weeks, after which you will be able to do low impact activities after this period. Your doctor and physiotherapist will help you in this process.
9. How long will the artificial joint last?
Studies have shown that in normal cases a joint will remain functional for more than 20 years, though this period will depend on the wear and tear it is subjected to. This means that young patients are more likely to be in need of a subsequent replacement. Your doctor can advise you on this.
10. Am I too old to perform this surgery?
Age is normally not a problem for having a knee replacement, as long as your physician can evaluate your general health to be good enough and you have the willingness to undergo the procedure.
Note: The information provided above is addressed to the non-medical community as an educational reference and to answer some of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the subject. Please do not take this as a substitute for professional medical advice. Kindly contact our consultant team for an accurate diagnosis of your ailment.