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Knee Replacement: Procedure, Recovery, Cost, Risk & Complication

What is Knee Replacement? Knee replacement surgery is classified into 2 basic types- Indication Procedure Risk & Complication More Info

What is Knee Replacement?

Knee replacement, which is also known as arthroplasty is a type of surgical procedure done to resurface the knee as a result of damage due to the onset of arthritis. The surgery is generally recommended for a patient who is suffering from a serious case of arthritis or an individual who have experienced a bad knee injury. The surgery, resurfaces the damaged part of the knee so as to reduce acute knee discomfort. This type of surgery is known to effectively reduce knee pain for almost 90% of the patients who opt for it.

Knee replacement surgery is classified into 2 basic types-

  • Total knee replacement surgery- Through this procedure the knee joint is repaired with a metal covering that is placed on the thigh bone.
  • Partial knee replacement surgery- Through this procedure only the part of the knee that is damaged is repaired.


Knee replacement surgery is generally recommended to patients who have a severe case of osteoarthritis. It generally occurs with old age and the knee cartilage tends to break down because of the constant wear and tear. The onset of this condition hinders with knee movement and can cause acute pain. The condition may be treated through other methods like prescription of painkillers, physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory medication. But if such treatment is ineffective doctors generally recommend knew replacement procedure.

A knee replacement may also be advised in case of a severe injury to the joint due to an accident.


Pre Procedure

Before one undergoes the procedure, the doctor explains the proceedings in detail and you will have to sign a consent form. A detailed medical history is taken again and relevant tests are done. Make sure to inform your doctor about any allergies you have or medication that you are taking.

In order to prepare the patient for the operation, water and food is stopped some 8 hours prior the procedure. A sedative is given just before the procedure to help the patient relax. Patients are also asked to arrange for someone to help them with recovery for a couple of weeks post the procedure.

During Procedure

Knee replacement surgery is performed under the influence of anaesthesia. The procedure is as follows-

  • The patient is prepped for the surgery and brought into the operation theatre
  • The skin at the site of the incision is cleaned with an antiseptic, and a cut is made.
  • The damaged part of the knee is removed and resurfaced with prosthesis, which may be metal or plastic. The prosthesis used may be either cemented or un-cemented, or even a combination of both, depending on the patients requirement.
  • The incision is then closed and stitched up or stapled. A drain is generally placed at the site of the incision to facilitate easy removal of fluid. The surgical wound is dressed.

Post Procedure

Once the surgery is done the patient is shifted from the operation theatre to the recovery room, where he is monitored constantly. You may have to stay at the hospital for a few days after the surgery. During this period you will start physical therapy to help you gain back knee movement. During this period pain killers are also prescribed to bring down the pain and help with exercise.

Once you are discharged and go home, ensure that you take care of the surgical wound. It should be kept clean and dry. Specific instructions will be given about how you can bathe and clean up. The dressing is generally removed at the next check-up. In case you develop a fever, or experience acute pain and swelling inform your doctor immediately. You can go back to your normal routine as soon as your doctor says it is okay to do so.

Risk & Complication

All surgical procedures involve certain complications, and so does knee replacement. A patient should be aware of the various risks of the surgery before undergoing it. A knee replacement procedure involves complications like-

  • bleeding or onset of infection
  • formation of blood clots at the site of surgery or in the lungs
  • fracture or the prosthesis may become loose
  • acute pain and stiffness of the knee
  • Injury to nerve cells or blood vessels at the site of the surgery
  • There may be some other risks involved depending on the patient’s health and medical condition, which should be discussed with the doctor before the procedure.

More Info

Knee replacement procedure was first done during the 1970s. During that period doctors were of the opinion that a knee implant would last for 10 years. Today, knee implants have a life of about 20 years. In fact it has been predicted that by the year 2030 about 450,000 knee replacement procedures will be done each year.

After the surgery the pain is reduced to a great extent and disappears in most cases. One can gradually go back to their normal daily activities and can even indulge in sports like golf, tennis, running and swimming without any problems. Quality of life is greatly improved.

Popular Questions & Answers

My mother has undergone 7 previous surgeries. She is highly diabetic. Presently she is suffering severe pain in left knee. Xray report suggestions are to go for knee replacement. Being v obese and with past surgical records knee replacement is risky situation. Any other option available.

Physiotherapist, Noida
Chiropractic adjustment will help. Quadriceps exercise Hams Stretching- lie straight, take the leg up, pull the feet towards yourself, with a elastic tube ornormal belt. repeat 10 times, twice a day.

I am 60+ years old & suffering from arthritis for the past 10 years. Both knees are affected. I consulted a doctor and he has suggested knee replacement in both knee. Is knee replacement necessary? What are the advantages of knee replacement? Will I be able to walk properly after the operation?

MBBS, Craniosacral Balancing, Quantum Touch, Visceral manipulation
Pain Management Specialist, Panchkula
Knee replacement is a good alternative these days. Don't worry follow proper precautions as advised to you after operation (physiotherapy etc.) You will enjoy your life. For any type of stress in any field of life mind management is available for ...
3 people found this helpful

I am 65 years old ,suffering from arthritis for the past 10 years Is knee replacement is necessary. What is the advantages of knee replacement?

PG Diploma in Health Promotion, Bachelor of Physiotherapy, certificate in Yoga Therapy & Ayurveda
Physiotherapist, Delhi
It depends upon the condition of your joints. however, many at times Total knee replacement is not even recommended, still patients get their knee changed. Surgery should be the last option. I suggest you to go for conservative treatment before go...
1 person found this helpful

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