Patient Education

To help you understand and navigate through your orthopedic health decisions, we have created a patient education section. Please select from one of the categories below to learn more about your condition or procedure.
Knee Replacement – Total

Total knee replacement (TKR), also known as total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace a damaged knee joint with an artificial implant. This procedure is typically recommended for patients with severe knee arthritis or significant knee damage that impairs mobility and quality of life.

The knee is a complex joint involving:

  • Femur (thighbone)
  • Tibia (shinbone)
  • Patella (kneecap)
  • Cartilage: Cushions the bones and allows smooth movement.
  • Ligaments and tendons: Provide stability and support.
  • Synovial membrane: Produces fluid to lubricate the joint.

Indications For A Total Knee Replacement

TKR is usually considered when:

  • Severe Pain: Persistent pain that limits daily activities (walking, climbing stairs).
  • Functional Limitations: Difficulty bending, straightening, or bearing weight on the knee.
  • Conservative Treatments Failed: Non-surgical treatments (medications, physical therapy, injections) have not provided relief.
  • Deformity: Knee joint deformity (bowing in or out).
  • Reduced Quality of Life: Pain and mobility issues affect daily life and sleep.

Preoperative Evaluation

  • Medical History and Physical Examination: Assessment of overall health, knee function, and range of motion.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays: Evaluate the extent of joint damage and deformity. MRI or CT Scan: Sometimes used for detailed images of soft tissues and bone structures.
  • Lab Tests: Blood tests to assess general health and rule out infection.

The Procedure

  • Anesthesia: General anesthesia or regional anesthesia (spinal or epidural) to numb the lower body.
  • Incision: A surgical cut is made over the knee to access the joint.
  • Removal of Damaged Tissue: Damaged cartilage and bone are removed from the femur, tibia, and patella.
  • Implant Placement: Metal and plastic prosthetic components are positioned to recreate the joint surfaces.
  • Closure: The incision is closed with sutures or staples, and a sterile bandage is applied.

Types of Implants

  • Cemented Implants: Attached to the bone using surgical cement.
  • Cementless Implants: Designed to allow bone to grow into the implant for fixation.
  • Hybrid Implants: Combination of cemented and cementless techniques.

Recovery & Rehabilitation

Immediate Postoperative Care

  • Hospital Stay: Typically lasts 1-3 days.
  • Pain Management: Medications to control pain and inflammation.
  • Blood Clot Prevention: Blood thinners and compression devices to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  • Physical Therapy: Early mobilization and exercises to improve range of motion and strength.

Long-Term Rehabilitation

  • Physical Therapy: Continued exercises to enhance strength, flexibility, and function.
  • Activity Modification: Gradual return to daily activities, with avoidance of high-impact activities.
  • Follow-Up Care: Regular appointments to monitor progress and address any concerns.

Potential Complications

  • Infection: Risk of infection at the surgical site.
  • Blood Clots: Risk of DVT or pulmonary embolism.
  • Implant Issues: Loosening, wear, or failure of the implant over time.
  • Nerve or Blood Vessel Injury: Potential for injury during surgery.
  • Stiffness: Difficulty regaining full range of motion.
  • Allergic Reactions: Rare reactions to metal components in the implant.

Outcomes & Prognosis

  • Pain Relief: Significant reduction in pain for most patients.
  • Improved Mobility: Enhanced ability to perform daily activities and improved quality of life.
  • Longevity of Implants: Modern implants can last 15-20 years or longer, depending on factors such as activity level and body weight.

FAQ’s

How long does the surgery take?
The procedure typically lasts about 1-2 hours, but the total time in the operating room may be longer due to preparation and anesthesia.

When can I return to normal activities?
Most patients can resume normal activities within 3-6 months, but high-impact activities should be avoided to prolong the life of the implant.

Will I need a walker or cane after surgery?
Initially, you may need a walker or cane for support, but most patients can walk independently within a few weeks.

How long will my knee replacement last?
Modern knee implants can last 15-20 years or more, depending on factors like activity level and body weight.

Are there alternatives to total knee replacement?
Alternatives include partial knee replacement, arthroscopy, or non-surgical treatments like medications, physical therapy, and injections. These options may be suitable for patients with less severe arthritis.

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