Knee replacement surgery is recommended by orthopedic surgeons for a variety of reasons, including damage to the joint caused by rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. It is the most commonly performed joint replacement surgery. If your doctor has suggested this type of surgery for your knees, you should familiarize yourself with the process so you know what to expect from the surgery and the recovery. Here are a few things you should know.
During The Procedure
During the procedure, your orthopedic surgeon will make an incision toward the front of your knee. This incision can measure between 8 to 10 inches long. For less invasive surgery, the incision may only measure 4 to 6 inches long. This incision provides access to the knee for the replacement. The surgeon will then prepare the joint and implant the artificial knee. Sutures are then used to close up the incision.
The surgery is typically performed while you are under anesthesia, so you won't feel the procedure being performed. After the surgery is complete, you will be moved to a recovery room where your progress will be monitored.
After The Surgery
Once the surgery is complete and you are ready to begin the healing process, you will be asked to begin moving your joints. This is part of the road to rehabilitation, which typically starts within 24 hours of the surgery's completion.
A physical therapist will help you to learn how to move safely and begin strengthening your leg and your knee joint. Be sure to talk to your orthopedic surgeon before your procedure so you understand the plan for rehab and how long it is expected to take, as each patient may have different expected outcomes for a successful knee replacement surgery.
Getting Back To Normal
It may take some time to get used to your new knee, but it is important to remain active in the weeks after knee replacement surgery. Your physical therapist will be able to recommend low-impact activities, such as cycling or swimming, that can keep you active and strengthen your knee. Stick to the exercise plan you create together, and follow up with your surgeon to monitor your progress. By following the plan and caring for your new knee, you can reduce the risks of knee replacement failure and begin to live life as you did before.
Knee replacement surgery is an option for some people with different types of arthritis. If you have difficulty walking or standing due to knee pain, talk to your orthopedic surgeon about the different options available so you can decide whether or not a knee replacement is the right move for you.