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Knee Replacement

Knee Replacement

 

Overview

Knee replacement surgery (knee arthroplasty) can benefit relieve pain and reestablish function in severely diseased knee joints. During knee replacement, a surgeon cuts away broken bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone and kneecap and replaces it with an artificial joint made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers..


 

Why it is Performed

You may be a candidate for Knee replacement surgery (knee arthroplasty) if:

 

 · Your pain is disabling

 · Other treatments haven't helped You have a knee deformity

 · You’re 55 or older

 

Test & Diagnosis

As with any surgery, knee replacement surgery carries risks, including:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots in the leg vein or lungs
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Nerve damage

 

How it is done

Going into hospital

You’ll usually be admitted to hospital on the day of surgery. You’ll be asked to sign a consent form if you haven't already completed one, which gives the surgeon permission to carry out the treatment, and your knee will then be marked for the operation. It's important to ask any questions you may still have at

this stage.

You'll be asked if you're willing for details of your operation to be entered into the National Joint Registry (NJR) database. The NJR collects data on hip and knee replacements in order to monitor the performance of joint implants, and it’s vital that all patients sign up (the information is secure).

The operation

Just before your operation you’ll bewalked or taken in a chair or bed to the operating theatre. You'll probably be given a sedative medication (a pre-med) while waiting in the admission ward. You’ll then usually be given either an epidural or spinal anaesthetic, although sometimes a general anaesthetic is used instead. In these cases, you may also be given a nerve block, which will block pain in your leg for up to 36 hours after surgery.

The operation itself may take from as little as 45 minutes to over two hours, depending on the complexity of the surgery.

 

Risks involved

  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots that may travel from your legs to your lungs
  • Breathing problems
  • Heart attack or stroke during surgery
  • Infection, including in the lungs, urinary tract, and chest

 

Life after surgery

It will be some weeks before you recover from your operation and start to feel the benefits of your new knee joint. Make sure you have no major commitments – including long-haul air travel – for the first six weeks after the operation.

Keeping up your exercises will make a big difference to your recovery time. You’ll probably need painkillers as the exercise can be painful at first. Gradually you’ll be able to build up the exercises to strengthen your muscles so that you can move more easily.

Standing

Avoid standing for long periods as this could lead to your ankles swelling. When you turn around, take several small steps instead of twisting your knee. Avoid reaching up or bending down for the first six weeks.

Walking

Crutches are useful at first because your thigh muscles (quadriceps) will be weak after the operation. It’s important to use crutches as falling could damage your new joint.

After two weeks, or sooner if you’re confident, you can go down to one crutch and then a walking stick. After about six weeks, if your muscles feel strong and supportive, you can try walking without aids. This process may take less time if you’ve had a partial knee replacement or longer if you’ve had a more complex operation.

It should be possible to walk outside within three weeks of having surgery but make sure you wear good supportive outdoor shoes. After three weeks, try to take longer strides so you can fully straighten (extend) your leg.

Going up and down stairs

When going up stairs put your unoperated leg onto the step first, then move your operated leg up. When going down stairs, put your operated leg down first, followed by your unoperated leg.

– See more at: http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/surgery/knee-replacement/looking-after-your-new-knee.aspx#sthash.IxaDOfmb.dpuf

 

Prognosis

The results of a total knee replacement are often excellent. The operation relieves pain for most people. Most people do not need help walking after they fully recover.

Most artificial knee joints last 10 to 15 years. Some last as long as 20 years before they loosen and need to be replaced again.

 

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