Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Total Knee Replacement Surgery
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Knee joint replacement is a surgical procedure to replace a knee joint with a man-made artificial joint. The artificial joint is called a prosthesis.


Broken or bad cartilage and bone are removed from the knee joint. Artificial pieces are then placed in the knee.

These pieces may be positioned in the following places in the knee joint:

Lower end of the thigh bone -- This bone is known as the femur. The replacement part is usually made of metal.

The large bone in your lower leg -- This bone is called the tibia. The replacement part is generally produced from metal and strong plastic.

Back side of your kneecap -- Your kneecap is called the patella. The replacement part is usually produced from a strong plastic.

You will not experience any pain during the surgical procedure. You will have one of these two types of anaesthesia:

General anaesthesia -- This means you will be asleep and unable to feel any pain.

Regional (spinal or epidural) anaesthesia -- Medicine is placed into your back to make you numb below your waist. You will also receive medicine to make you drowsy. And you can get medicine that would make you forget about the procedure, even though you are not completely asleep.

· After you receive anaesthesia, your doctor will make a cut over your knee to open it up. This procedure cut is often 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimetres) long. After that, your surgeon will:

· Move your kneecap (patella) off the way, then cut the ends of your thigh bone and shin (lower leg) bone to fit the replacement part.

· Cut the underside of your kneecap to make it ready for the new pieces that will be attached there.

· Fasten both parts of the prosthesis to your bones. One will be attached to the end of your thigh bone and the other will be attached to your shin bone. The pieces can be attached with the use of bone cement or screws.

· Attach the underside of your kneecap. Special bone cement is used to join this part.

· Fix your muscles and tendons with the new joint and close the surgical cut.

The surgery takes about 2-3 hours

Most artificial knees have metal and plastic parts. Some surgeons now make use of different materials, such as metal on metal, ceramic on ceramic, or ceramic on plastic.

Why the procedure is performed

The main reason to have a knee joint replaced is to relieve severe arthritis pain. Your doctor can recommend knee joint replacement if:

· You are having pain from knee arthritis that prevents you from sleeping or doing normal activities.

· You cannot walk and take care of yourself.

· Your knee pain does not improve with other treatment options.

· You know what surgery and recovery will be like.

Usually, knee joint replacement is done in persons 60 years old and above. Younger persons who have a knee joint replaced may put extra pressure on the artificial knee and cause it to wear out early and not last as long.

Before the Procedure

Always tell your doctor what drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.

During the 2 weeks before your surgery

Ready your home

· Two weeks before surgery, you might be asked to stop using drugs that make it harder for your blood to clot. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), or clopidogrel (Plavix), and other drugs.

· You may also need to stop taking medicines that can make your body more likely to get an infection. These include methotrexate, Enbrel, or other medicines that suppress your immune system.

· Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of your surgery.

· If you have diabetes, heart disease, or other medical conditions, your surgeon may ask you to see the doctor who handles you for these conditions to see if it is safe for you to have the surgery.

· Discuss with your doctor and tell him/her if you have been drinking a lot of alcohol, more than 1 or 2 drinks a day.

· If you smoke, you need to stop. Ask your doctor for help. Smoking will slow down wound and bone healing. Your recovery may not be as good if you continue smoking.

· Always let your doctor know about any cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout or other illness you have prior to your surgery.

· You may want to see a physical therapist to learn some exercises you can do before surgery.

· Prepare your home to make everyday tasks easier.

· Practice with a cane, walker, crutches or a wheelchair properly.

On the day of your surgery

·You will be mainly asked not to drink or eat anything for 6 to 12 hours before the procedure.

·Take the medicines you have been asked to take with a small sip of water.

After the Procedure

You will stay in the hospital for 1-2 days during which you will recover from your anesthesia and from the surgery itself. You will be directed to start moving and walking as soon as the first day after surgery.

Full recovery will take 4 months to a year

Some people require a short stay in a rehabilitation centre after they leave the hospital and before they return home. At a rehabilitation centre, you will get more knowledge on how to safely do your daily activities on your own.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The results of a total knee replacement are often admirable. The operation relieves pain for many people. Most people DO NOT need assistance walking after they fully recover.

Most artificial knee joints last for 10 to 15 years. Some last as long as 20 years before they get bad and need to be replaced again. Total knee replacements can be changed again if they get loose or wear out. However, in most cases, the results are not as good as the first time. It is vital not to have the surgery too early so you will need another surgery at a young age or have it too late when you will not benefit very well.


DisclaimerThe information provided herein is for patient's general knowledge only and should not be used during any medical emergency, for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Duplication for personal and commercial use must be authorized in writing by

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