Is a knee replacement a major operation?

Arthroplasty is a common procedure that involves completely replacing the knee. This surgical procedure is quite a major one and is usually done in order to help a patient that has severe osteoarthritis. Surgeons mostly use plastic or metal caps at the ends of the patient’s bones in order to make the surgery successful. If you are someone who might possibly need a total knee replacement, it is important to know how big this surgery is and what are its important factors. We have talked to a number of leading surgeons in order to put your mind at ease and answer your questions.

knee replacement

When do I need this surgery?

This surgery is usually important and required when your knee joint is completely worn out. This can greatly impact and limit your mobility and can also bring with it a ton of pain and issues. There are a ton of reasons why you would need this surgery, but the most common one is osteoarthritis. Other conditions that can irreversibly damage your knee are gout, unusual bone growth, cancer, a major injury, hemophilia, or rheumatoid arthritis.

When is it recommended?

Not everyone recommends arthroplasty. Since this is major surgery, the best knee replacement surgeons only recommend this after exhausting all of their alternative options in order to treat the knee. They might look into physical therapy, corticosteroids, or warm compresses. But if none of these work for you and it keeps getting worse, you might be recommended to get the surgery done. If you have severe swelling and pain, if this interferes with your quality of life and everyday tasks, if it causes comorbid issues such as depression, it might be the right thing for you. They will also see if you are healthy enough to deal with the operation and the physical therapy later on.

Do I have any other options?

You do have other options in case of severe pain, but they might not work as well as a total knee replacement surgery. An osteotomy will realign your knee and shin so that the damaged part of your knee is not carrying most of the weight. This will result in a ton of scarring and the possibility of the procedure not lasting so long. An arthroscopic washout will use a tiny telescope in order to wash out the knee with saline. This will clear out any pieces of cartilage or bone, but will not improve your pain. Talk to your doctor about the best surgery option for you.

How long will recovery take?

The recovery will start out by spending 3-5 days in the hospital after your procedure is done. Once you are discharged from the hospital and are able to go home, your doctor will recommend some tips to follow. You will need to use crutches for the first few weeks while a physiotherapist will teach you how to strengthen your knee and get full mobility back. You can stop using your walking aid after 5 weeks of surgery, depending on the recommendation of your physiotherapist.

It is important to know all the information about such a huge surgery. You can ask your surgeon these questions if you still have any doubts.

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