Knee replacement surgery is one of the most commonly performed orthopedic surgeries in the United States. Knee replacement surgery involves removing damaged parts of the knee and replacing them with artificial pieces called prosthetics. Once installed, the prosthetics take on the responsibilities of the damaged bones they replaced. This helps restore function to the knee that was otherwise unable to function due to joint deterioration. If you had an injury or a condition that caused the deterioration of your knee, a knee replacement surgery may be able to help.
Consultation and Preparation
To get knee replacement surgery, you will need to consult with an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in joint replacement surgery. Your consultation will include discussion of your symptoms, past treatments and how your body responded to them, your lifestyle, and recommendations on imaging tests the surgeon will need in order to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery. Once the surgeon sees inside the knee and can determine if your knee is damaged enough to qualify for a knee replacement, you will have a series of tests to ensure you are healthy enough to go through surgery. Once cleared, you will see your surgeon for consultation to discuss instructions before and after the procedure.
You will get anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable throughout the procedure. Then, the surgeon will open the knee to get access to the damaged parts of the joint. The damaged parts of the bone will be removed, and artificial pieces will be installed using screws or cement glue. Once complete, the knee will be stitched back up. Your surgeon may recommend you stay at the hospital after the procedure until it is determined that you are healthy enough to return home.
After the Procedure
Following your surgery, you will meet with a physical therapist who will help you get moving soon after your procedure. The faster you move the knee and begin using it, the better. After you return home, it’s crucial to walk and move the knee as your surgeon instructs.
Once your wound heals, you will start physical therapy. This will help you strengthen the knee, improve your balance, and gradually increase mobility and functionality in the knee. Physical therapy is a crucial component to the healing process after joint replacement surgery. It will help give you the best results possible and will help you wean off pain medications as you get stronger.
Recovery from knee replacement can take a few months. During this time, you should get a lot of rest, regularly do physical therapy, and visit your surgeon to check on improvement.
Who is a Good Candidate?
Not everyone is a good candidate for knee replacement surgery. The prosthetics that are used in the surgery have an “expiration” period. Most prosthetics last for anywhere between 10 to 20 years. This means, after the prosthetic has worn down, you may need revision surgery to replace them.
Because surgery is a last resort option and entails a lot of pain, rehabilitation, and trauma to the body, surgeons recommend delaying joint replacement surgery for as long as possible so that there is less need for a revision surgery down the road.
The same goes for individuals who are highly active. The prosthetic pieces are prone to wearing down the more they are used. A person who lives a moderately sedentary lifestyle will need revision surgery much later than an individual who is highly active and uses the knees more rigorously.
These factors make older patients (50 years of age or older) ideal candidates for knee replacement surgery because they are likely to live less physically active lifestyles than young adults and they may not need revision surgery later in life.
However, this doesn’t mean that a younger individual shouldn’t consider a knee replacement. A young adult who has a damaged knee that is beyond natural healing may also be a good candidate. If other treatments fail and there is a significant impact on quality of life, knee replacement surgery may be a good option, regardless of your age.
Knee Replacement Surgery in Wooster, Ohio
If you have knee pain that isn’t getting better with other treatments, find out if knee replacement surgery can help. Wooster Community Hospital has board-certified orthopedic surgeons who are well experienced in performing joint replacement surgeries. To make an appointment, call (330) 263-8100 today.