Knee replacement is one of the most commonly performed orthopaedic procedures that involves the replacement of a damaged or diseased knee joint with an artificially created prosthetic joint so as to relieve pain and other symptoms and improve the quality of the patient’s life. As per an article published by BioSpectrum India in January 2019, around 1,20,000 knee replacement procedures are carried out in India annually and these include both partial and total knee replacements. The former involves the replacement of only the affected component of the knee joint while the unaffected part is left completely intact, whereas, in case of the later, all the components of the joint are replaced
Major indications of Knee Replacement
Knee replacement is usually recommended to patients whose joints have been damaged beyond repair and who do not respond to any other treatment or therapy. Such problems can be very painful and drastically impact the quality of your life by making you dependent upon others and preventing you from carrying out your day to day activities. The major indications that may call for the need of a knee replacement include the following:
Degenerative joint disease like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
Post-traumatic degenerative joint disease
Chronic joint damage due to regular wear and tear
Severe joint injury sustained in an accident
Chronic knee inflammation that is nor responding to any other treatment
How to prepare for the procedure?
Here are a few things that need to be done prior to your knee replacement to alleviate the risks of unwanted complications and speed up the process of recovery:
Prepare yourself for the procedure mentally. Talk to your doctor and ask questions without hesitation.
Try to get in better shape by losing those extra pounds. Our knees bear the weight of our body. Excess body weight post-surgery is going to put extra strain on the prosthetic joint and lead to unnecessary wear and tear.
Get all the tests and screenings done. These help the doctors to personalise a proper treatment plan for you.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medication and make sure that he/she is familiar with your medical history
How is the procedure performed?
The procedure is performed under the influence of anaesthesia such that the patient does not feel any pain or discomfort. The procedure is then carried out in a number of steps
Step 1 – The surgeons clean your knee and surrounding area and then make an incision to gain access to the kneecap. Traditional knee replacement is done by making an 8 to10-inch-long incision whereas a minimally invasive procedure is carried out by making a 4 to6-inch-long incision.
Step 2 – The kneecap is then rotated outside the knee area to expose the affected joint. The affected joint or its components are then removed very carefully along with any fragments of the degenerated cartilage present in the area.
Step 3 – The prosthetic components are then fixed in position with the help of medicated bone cement.
Step 4 – The kneecap is ten adjusted back to its normal position. An additional plastic component may be used to ensure that the prosthetic joint fits properly.
Step 5 – The doctor will gently bend and move your knee to check the alignment and positioning of the new joint. After making sure that everything is fine, he/she will close the incision with stitches or staples and cover it up properly.
What follows after the procedure?
Following the surgery, the patient is kept under keen observation until he/she gains consciousness. The patient is required to stay in the hospital for 3 to 4 days or as recommended by the doctor. Some medicines will be prescribed to cope up with the post-surgical pain and discomfort. This lasts only for a few days. Physiotherapy is started soon after so as to speed up the healing process and enhance the range of motion. The patient is also given a set of guidelines which are to be followed religiously:
Avoid lifting heavy objects
Avoid indulging in rigorous activities
Perform mild intensity exercises and increase the pace gradually
Walk for at least 10 to 15 minutes, 3 times a day
Take care of your diet
Do not miss your follow-ups
What are the benefits of Knee Replacement?
The benefits of knee replacement surgery are as follows:
Improved quality of life
Long term relief from pain
Better range of motion
Relieved inflammation and swelling
Are there any risks involved?
Just like any other medical procedure, there are certain risks involved in knee replacement surgery as well. These include: