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Knee Replacement Surgery: Procedure, Recovery, Cost and Is It Safe?

Last Updated: Jan 03, 2023

What is knee replacement and why is it useful?

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Knee replacement surgery refers to a treatment process that is often employed to heal Kneecap degeneration caused by several reasons such as arthritis or osteoporosis. A severe knee injury may also be treated by this process. This leads to the termination of pain during physical activities like walking, climbing, etc. Kneecap degeneration is a very ordinary complication in adults.

Adult often chooses knee replacement surgery as Kneecap degeneration is a very common problem in their age groups. However, it is known to treat other conditions too. Here is all you need to understand about what knee replacement surgery is, its procure, and the cost.

Knee replacement surgery is regarded as the best option to treat patients who have degenerated or damaged knees due to various conditions like osteoporosis, post-traumatic arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis.

Knee replacement surgery is also popularly named Knee Arthroplasty. The damaged parts of the kneecap are surgically removed and replaced by artificial body parts or prosthetics during this process. These artificial prosthetics support the smooth and painless movement of the knee joints.

With the help of knee replacement surgery, the patient is able to lead a normal life with few precautions.

Summary: Knee replacement surgery is better known for treating several knee-related complications caused by some common or severe issues.

Different Types of Knee Replacement Surgery

There are two different types of Knee Replacement Surgery

Total knee replacement (TKR):

In this type of Knee Replacement Surgery, the surgeon repairs and reconstructs both sides of the joint. The total knee replacement procedure is considered to be the most widely used. It takes up to 1-3 hours to finish the surgery providing smooth and painless mobility most of the time. However, there may be some leftover scar tissues that can hinder the bending and folding of the knee joints.

Summary- Different types of knee replacement operations are designed to handle various conditions. Doctors advise a certain type of surgery to a patient after detailed examinations.

Partial knee replacement (PKR):

In this type of Knee Replacement Surgery, only a side of the patient's knee joint is reconstructed or replaced. The incision for the surgery is smaller as compared to TKR. However, this surgery is not long lasting. PKR is usually done on patients who need a temporary fix for the damage or injury caused during an event/accident. There are fewer chances of infection or blood clots as there is less amount of blood loss during the procedure.

Other than these two types, kneecap replacement (patellofemoral arthroplasty), robotic knee replacement and complex or revision knee replacement are some other types of Knee Replacement Surgery. However, these procedures are rarely used because of their complexities.

Summary- Different types of knee replacement operations are designed to handle various conditions. Doctors advise a certain type of surgery to a patient after detailed examinations.

Are there any reasons why I can’t have a knee replacement?

Yes, there are two very common reasons why you cannot undergo a total knee replacement procedure. Some people may have these conditions and even though their knee degeneration is pretty bad, they may not be able to get a knee replacement. These reasons are as follows:

  • If you have weak quadriceps, that is, thigh muscles, then you cannot undergo knee replacement surgery. This is because your new knee joint may not get enough support from your quadriceps.
  • If you have ulcers on the skin that falls right below your knee, you cannot have knee replacement surgery. Undergoing the surgery may expose your ulcers to the risk of infection
Summary- If someone possesses weak quadriceps or has an ulcer besides the knee then he/she must avoid undergoing knee replacement surgery.

When should you see a doctor for Knee Replacement?

If you have the following symptoms then consult a doctor immediately.

  • Worsening pain in knee joints
  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Difficulty in mobility
  • Pain during rest
  • The incapability of performing daily activities
  • Worsened arthritis
  • Severe knee injury
Summary- We must plan a visit to the doctor if we experience any of the above-stated symptoms. We must not wait for the symptoms to get severe.

When is Knee Replacement Surgery necessary?

Usually, physical exercises, physiotherapies, and pain relief medications can help you avoid having a knee arthroplasty. However, after a long time, these remedies tend to work less and sometimes the pain is very severe. When all these remedies do not work anymore, it is time to consult a doctor for a total knee replacement procedure. With Pristyn Care, you can consult the best doctors for your knee replacement surgery.

Summary- Knee replacement surgery is a permanent treatment process to resolve knee-related issues. However, other temporary solutions are also available out there.

Reasons for Knee Replacement Surgery

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Some of the reasons why you should get a knee replacement surgery are as follows:

  • Constant pain

    Are you facing a constant which ranges from dull to severe during the day? This can be an indication that your arthritis or osteoporosis has worsened and you may need immediate surgery. Moreover, sometimes even when you are not doing any physical work, the pain still persists. If you are facing these problems then knee replacement surgery can relieve you from these difficulties for a long period of time.

  • Knees have become swollen and stiff

    Sometimes when the condition of arthritis worsens, your knee tends to become swollen and stiff. You may feel severe pain while bending or folding your knees. However, a total knee replacement can cure most of these conditions and provide you relief from the stiffness and swelling.

  • Difficulty in carrying out a normal lifestyle

    Arthritis can interfere with your day-to-day activities in a lot of ways. If you are looking forward to leading a healthy and normal lifestyle but your knee pain is not letting you achieve that, it is better to have a partial or total knee replacement surgery immediately. The procedure lasts as long as 15 years and with some preliminary precautions, you can have a healthy life.

Summary- Knee replacement surgery is important to terminate constant pain, swelling, and stiffness. It also helps you to lead a normal lifestyle without any pain.

How is Knee Replacement Surgery done?

Here is a general outline of the steps involved in a knee replacement surgery:

  • Pre-surgery preparation: Before the surgery, the patient will undergo a medical evaluation to ensure they are healthy enough for the procedure. The patient will also be given instructions on how to prepare for the surgery, such as avoiding food and drink after midnight the night before the surgery and arranging for transportation home after the procedure.
  • Anesthesia: The patient will be given either general anesthesia, which will put them to sleep, or regional anesthesia, which will numb the lower half of the body.
  • Incision: The surgeon will make an incision on the front of the knee to access the joint.
  • Damaged bone and cartilage removal: After your surgeon locates the damage to the bones, he removes the degenerated bone tissues and cuts away the bones that need to be replaced.
  • Implant placement: The surgeon will then place the artificial knee joint, which is made up of metal and plastic components. The components are carefully sized and shaped to fit the patient's knee and are attached to the bone using special cement or bone screws.
  • Closing the incision: Once the artificial knee joint is in place, the surgeon will close the incision with sutures or staples.
  • Recovery: After the surgery, the patient will be taken to a recovery room where they will be monitored until the effects of the anesthesia have worn off. The patient will then be taken to their hospital room to begin the recovery process.
Summary- Knee replacement surgery is executed through pre-planned steps. It starts with an incision then doctors rectify the damage and stitch the incision to complete the process.

What Does Knee Replacement Surgery Involve?

There are three stages of knee replacement surgery. They are as follows:

Before the procedure:

  • Before the partial knee replacement or total knee replacement procedures, your doctor will explain the complete procedure to you.
  • This will include the whole step-by-step process of knee replacement surgery, the risks it may include, the side effects of the surgery, and the postoperative care.
  • After that, you will be asked to sign a consent form and your surgeon will run complete physical and blood tests.
  • Make sure to let your doctor know about any allergies or infections that you may have.
  • Once he is satisfied with the test results, he will schedule your surgery at your convenience.

During the procedure:

  • During the process, you will be admitted to the hospital as the surgery requires you to stay in the hospital.
  • Post-discussion, your anesthesiologist will give you a dose of anesthesia.
  • Once you are under the influence of anesthesia, an intravenous (IV) line will be started.
  • Your anesthesiologist will keep on checking your vitals.
  • After the cleansing of the knee area where the surgery will be done, your surgeon will make a sufficient incision and conduct the total or partial knee replacement surgery as discussed earlier.

After the procedure

  • Once the surgery is completed, your vitals will be allowed to stabilize.
  • After that, you will be taken to your hospital room.
  • There you will be monitored under close watch.
  • Initial physiotherapy will be done at the hospital and you may be kept there for several days.
  • After recovery, you will be sent home. However, proper post-op guidelines must be followed at home for quick recovery.
Summary- Knee replacement surgery involves different procedures. There are certain steps formulated to be followed before and after the process.

What are knee replacement implants made of?

Most of the knee replacement components are constructed of alloys. The thigh bone component, also known as the femoral component, is generally made of metal alloys like cobalt chromium or metal-ceramic alloys like oxidized zirconium. On the other hand, the shin bone component, also known as the tibial insert component, is made up of either cobalt chromium (metal alloy), titanium (metal alloy), or plastic (polyethylene). Other than that, the patellar component is also made of plastic.

Summary- Different types of alloys are employed to construct knee replacement implants. Titanium, chromium or polythene are some of the commonly used materials.

Is Knee Replacement Painful?

Initial pain right after the surgery is very common. However, make sure the pain is not very severe. It should range from dull pain to light aches. Your doctor will prescribe you appropriate pain medicines for quick relief from the ache. Once you start physiotherapy, the pain starts subsiding. The duration of postoperative pain may last up to six months or a year even. However, once you have completely recovered, the knee replacement surgery will give you an improved function over a period of 15 years or so.

Summary- Knee replacement is a little painful but doctors prescribe medications to ensure less pain. After a thorough conversation with the doctor, Pristyn care may guarantee a painless process.

What are the possible complications of Knee Replacement?

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  • Bleeding - Internal bleeding after the surgery may occur if the procedure is not done carefully.
  • Infection - If the patient has ulcers or any other infection-prone area in or around the knee, then the infection can become severe.
  • Blood clots in legs - Internal bleeding can also cause blood clots in the legs
  • Loosening of the prosthesis - If the fitting and testing of the prosthesis are not properly done, it may result in loosening or wearing out.
  • Fracture - If post-surgery care is not taken properly, it may result in multiple fractures of the bones
  • Continued pain or stiffness - After the completion of the surgery, patients may have a dull ache and stiffness around their knee. This can be cured with regular physiotherapy sessions.
Summary- Knee replacement often leads to some common complications like blood clots, swelling, fracture, recurring pain, etc. However, they can be tackled with proper care.

How Safe Is Knee Replacement?

Studies have shown that over 95 percent of knee replacement surgeries are successful with a minimum number of side effects. You can rest assured as the possibility of complications is very rare in total or partial knee replacement surgeries. The procedure of knee arthroplasty is known to be one of the safest procedures. However, after your surgery is done, proper care should be taken by following the post-op guidelines.

Summary- The least dangerous surgery is a knee replacement since it has fewer adverse consequences than other procedures. If we take proper precautions, it will cause almost no adverse effects.

How long is recovery after Knee Replacement?

Continuous care must be taken even after you have fully recovered from your total knee replacement surgery. Usually, it takes about six months or a year to completely heal from the surgery. After 24 hours of the surgery, you can start small movement activities so that your knee replacement can adjust to its natural environment. Continuous physiotherapy sessions, medications, and exercises should be done for a full recovery with minimum to no complications.

Summary- Everyone recovers differently from knee replacement surgery, on average.

What is the success rate of Knee Replacement?

Studies have shown that over 95 percent of knee replacement surgeries are successful with a minimum number of side effects. You can rest assured as the possibility of complications is very rare in total or partial knee replacement surgeries.

Summary- Knee replacement is better known for its high success rate. It also causes almost no side effects with a speedy recovery.

How much is a Knee Replacement cost?

The cost of total knee replacement surgery in India generally ranges from 1,62,000 INR to 5,11,000 INR. However, this is only a rough estimate. The total cost of knee replacement surgery depends on a number of factors like the hospital, the pre-op process, the severity of the surgery, and much more.

Summary- The cost of knee replacement usually lies between 1.5- 5 lacs. It may put pressure on your budget.

What to eat after Knee Replacement?

A properly balanced diet after any type of surgery is very important for quick recovery. Once you have successfully undergone knee replacement surgery, make sure you eat healthy food.

  • Protein sources like soybeans, dairy, cottage cheese, eggs, poultry, fish, meat, and nuts are all excellent food items to eat for quick recovery.
  • Diets that are rich in calcium can also help your bone recovery.
  • Other than that you can also eat as many vegetables and fruits as per your diet.
  • At least 8 litres of water a day for the proper functioning of your digestive system.

Summary- We must be vigilant about the foods that aid a good recovery. Proteins, calcium along with proper hydration are necessary.

What not to eat after Knee Replacement?

The prime target of your diet should be boosting the process of your bone healing. Therefore, any food item that reduces the recovery rate of your bones should be avoided.

  • Caffeine,
  • Alcohol
  • Excessive amounts of sugar and salt

Summary- We must exclude some food items that are known to reduce the efficiency of natural bone healing. Junk foods and processed must not be eaten during the recovery phase.

How long does it take to recover from Knee Replacement?

Continuous care must be taken even after you have fully recovered from your knee replacement surgery. Usually, it takes about six months or a year to completely heal from the surgery. After 24 hours of the surgery, you can start small movement activities so that your knee replacement can adjust to its natural environment. Continuous physiotherapy sessions, medications, and exercises should be done for a full recovery with minimum to no complications.

Summary- The recovery period of knee replacement usually varies for different patients. We must be careful after the surgery for a speedy recovery.

Are the results of the Knee Replacement permanent?

A knee replacement surgery can last up to 15-20 years depending on the material of the prosthesis, the exertion on your knee, and the post-op care. Once your knee replacement surgery is completely healed, the results can last long enough to relieve you from pain.

Summary- The result of knee replacement can be permanent but it needs utmost care. We must follow doctors’ guidelines carefully

What are the post-treatment guidelines for Knee Replacement?

Here are some of the post-treatment guidelines for Knee Replacement.

  • Sitting - Do not sit for more than 40-45 minutes in the same position. You can switch positions by walking or strolling at intervals of 40 minutes.
  • Getting dressed - Avoid bending your knee while you wear your pants. Also, sitting while wearing your pants is recommended.
  • Stairs - Avoid using stairs as much as you can.
  • Walking - Right after the surgery, use a walker for walking. Once you are fully recovered, only then start walking on your own.
  • Lying Down - Lay down flat on your back while sleeping. Keep your knees straight so that there is no strain on your prosthesis.
Summary- Post-treatment guidelines are necessary for the healing process. We must be aware of the above-stated simple steps to ease the treatment procedure.

What are the side effects of Knee Replacement?

One of the major side effects of knee replacement surgery is continued pain or stiffness. After the completion of the knee replacement surgery, patients may have a dull ache and stiffness around their knee. This can be cured with regular physiotherapy sessions. Even pain relief medicines may have some side effects. You may also face difficulty in bending or folding your knee joints.

Summary- Knee replacement surgery may cause some side effects like swelling, stiffness, pain, etc. around the affected area.

What is the outlook for Knee Replacement?

Once you have successfully undergone knee replacement surgery, you will be relieved from the arthritis pain and discomfort for a long time. With some general exercise and care, you can lead a healthy lifestyle after the surgery. Since the rate of complications is very less, the success rate of this surgery is the best among its kind.

Summary- Knee replacement usually comprises a very high success rate with fewer side effects. Post-surgical care is also very easy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can MRI be done with a knee replacement?

Yes, MRI can be done safely with a knee replacement. The recent development in MRI technologies and protocols has allowed us to capture images of the soft tissues around a knee replacement.

Can you do squats after knee replacement?

It is possible to do half squats but performing deep squats is neither possible nor allowed to do after a knee replacement.

How long will a stryker knee replacement last?

In 85% to 90% of cases of Stryker knee arthroplasty procedure, it will last about 13 to 17 years. But the patients who have a knee replacement early may eventually need to have a second operation to fixate the implants and clean the bone surfaces.

How successful are knee replacements?

Knee replacements have a 95% success rate and the procedure is known as a cost-effective and safe procedure.

How to massage after knee replacement?

Firstly, find a place that is comfortable. While massaging, avoid the wounded area. Start massaging gently and once you are comfortable enough, increase the pressure gradually. Do not put too much pressure as it may damage the knee replacement.

How to sit after knee replacement?

After knee replacement, You should not sit for more than 45 to 60 minutes in the same position at a time. It is appropriate to sit in a firm chair with armrests or a straight backrest. After the surgery, sitting on furniture like sofas, stools, soft and rocking chairs, and chairs that are too low should be avoided at all costs.

Is knee replacement covered under insurance?

Most insurance companies cover knee replacement surgeries in their standard health insurance policies. You can even purchase a special standalone knee replacement policy in India.

Is knee replacement worth it?

Yes, It is worth it. Knee replacement provides relief from pain and improved and smooth mobility. It also gives you a better quality of life. Most knee replacements can be expected to last for more than 10 to 15 years.

Do you have a meniscus after knee replacement?

Artificial knee replacements may or may not have a meniscus. This depends on the needs of your joints post-surgery.

How long does a titanium knee replacement last?

Titanium knee replacement can last for 20 years or longer. It is a strong metal that can have very few side effects. Durability and strength are two of the factors why titanium is widely used in knee replacement.

What is the amount of blood loss during knee replacement surgery?

According to numerous research, about 1000 to 1500 mL of blood is lost during a knee replacement surgery.

How to treat pain in your nerves after knee arthroplasty?

Some researchers suggest that undergoing a post-surgery treatment known as C-RFA can help relieve nerve pain. In this treatment, a very small and fine needle is inserted around your knee that targets specific nerve locations. This is usually done when physiotherapies do not work.

Is knee replacement considered major surgery?

Yes, knee replacement is considered to be a major surgery as the procedure is complicated and long. So it is not recommended unless physiotherapy and other treatments were unable to reduce the pain.


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Written ByDr. E. Logesh MSPT (Master of Physical Therapy),BPTh/BPTPhysiotherapy
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