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Knee Replacement Surgery - What To Expect?

Dr. Nakul Shah 90% (21 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics, DNB - Orthopedics
Orthopedist, Pune  •  23 years experience
Knee Replacement Surgery - What To Expect?

You know it’s time for a knee replacement surgery when you can’t walk, move or get up from a chair without pain in spite of taking medications, physiotherapy and following a pain management therapy for a long time. Knee replacement surgery is also known as arthroplasty, and it’s one of the most common bone surgeries around.

Causes of Knee Pain
Most people suffering from arthritis of any kind- osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis are the ones who may require a knee replacement surgery when their condiition becomes severe.
It helps ease pain and helps one move freely.

  1. Osteoarthritis- This is mostly caused due to age-related ‘wear and tear’ of the knee joint and usually occurs in people who are older than 50 years. In this condition, the cartilage that cushions the three main bones of the knee wears away. This makes the bones rub against one another, causing stiffness and knee pain. Osteoarthritis is the main reason why people go for knee replacement surgery.
  2. Rheumatoid arthritis- In this type of arthritis, the synovial membrane that surrounds the knee joint becomes inflamed. This chronic inflammation then damages the knee cartilage and leads its loss and attendant pain, and stiffness.
  3. Post-traumatic arthritis- This happens after a serious knee injury. It can lead to tears of the knee ligaments and bones which leads to damage to the knee cartilage.
  4. Loss of blood flow to the bones – osteonecrosis – also may require knee replacement surgery.
  5. Those with deformities like knock knees and bowed legs also may require knee replacement.

Knee Replacement Surgery
During this surgery, an orthopedic surgeon removes the damaged part of the knee and replaces it with an artificial metal or plastic joint. This artificial joint is then attached to the thigh bone, the shin, and the kneecap with a special cement-like material.

Different Types of Knee Replacement Surgery

There are four main types of knee replacement surgery-

  1. Total knee replacement- This is the most common type of surgery. In this, your surgeon replaces the entire knee including the thigh bone and shin bone that connect to the knee.
  2. Partial knee replacement- This type of surgery is performed if arthritis affects only one side of your knee. However, this type of surgery is done only if you have strong knee ligaments. This is performed through a smaller cut than is needed for total knee replacement.
  3. Kneecap replacement- This type of surgery replaces only the under-surface of your kneecap.
  4. Revision knee replacement- This is a complex surgery which is performed in case you have very severe arthritis.

A knee replacement is actually a knee "resurfacing" because only the surface of the knee bones is actually replaced during the procedure. It is a relatively safe procedure and the patient does not have any side effects. All a patient is required to do is take proper rest and follow the instructions of your doctor. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Orthopedist.

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