What is Knee Replacement Surgery?
Knee Replacement (Knee Arthroplasty) is medical operation to replace a worn-out or damaged knee joint with an artificial one. As a major procedure, it is performed to address the pain and discomform caused by arthritis or to treat the injuries such as broken bone or improperly growing hip, if the other treatments have failed to reduce the pain or improve the mobility.
Operation is performed through a vertica incision over the knee joint. Damaged or worn out end of femur and tibia are carefully cut during the operation to be replaced by metal plates (flat for tibia and curved for femur) with a plastic spacer between them to reduce the friction.
Artifical joints can last for 10-15 years or longer and then another replacement would be needed.
What happens after the surgery?
Following the surgery, patients are provided with an exercise and rehabilitation plan by the physical therapist in order to regain muscle strength and joint motion.
Risk of Knee Replacement Surgery?
Knee replacement is a common surgery with most patients not experiencing any complications. However, as with any surgery, there are a list of risks involved.
While the complications are rare, the list includes:
- stiffness of the knee
- infection of the wound
- infection of the joint replacement, needing further surgery
- unexpected bleeding into the knee joint
- ligament, artery or nerve damage in the area around the knee joint
- deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- persistent pain in the knee
- a break in the bone around the knee replacement during or after the operation
In some cases, the new knee joint may not be completely stable and further surgery may be needed to correct it.
The aim of this article is to give you a general information about the surgical intervention in question. You need to make more research about possible complications and risks of this selected procedure in order to make an informed decision. Please note that complications occur more frequently with patients who are obese, smoke, and have a history or lung or other chronic underlying medical conditions.
Smokers are recognized to have a significantly higher risk of post operative wound healing problems with a subsequently higher potential of infection as well as operative and post operative bleeding. Patients should discontinue smoking for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery. Although it helps to stop smoking before and after surgery, this does not completely eliminate the increased risks resulting from long term smoking. Smoking also has a long term adverse effect on the skin and ageing process.