The doctor can recommend knee replacement surgery when a person is dealing with a stiff, painful knee which makes it difficult to execute even the simplest of actions and other treatments are not successful. This operation is usually reserved for individuals over the age of 50 who have serious osteoarthritis.
Once patients are under general anesthesia which means they are temporarily put to under or they have been given a spinal/epidural anesthesia which makes them numb below the waist, an 8- to 12-inch incision is made in the front of the knee. The damaged area of the joint is extracted from the surface of the bones and then the surfaces are shaped to accept an artificial metal or plastic joint. The artificial joint is secured to the thigh bone, shin, and knee cap with either cement or a special bonding material. When secured, the attached artificial parts will form the joint and rely on the surrounding muscles and ligaments for function and support.
The average hospital stay following a knee joint replacement is generally three to five days. Most people who undergo the surgery have significant improvement. This improvement is very distinguished a month or more following surgery. The discomfort caused by the damaged joints is alleviated when a new gliding surface is established during surgery. Following knee joint replacement, patients are standing on and moving the joint 24 hours after surgery. Initially, patients might walk with the assistance of parallel bars and then a walking device like crutches, a walker, or a cane. This will be used until the knee is able to support the person’s entire body weight. After roughly six weeks, most individuals are walking comfortably with little to no help. Once muscle strength has returned, patients who have had a knee joint replacement can enjoy most non-strenuous activities.