Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee pain from arthritis or an injury can interfere with everyday life, making simple activities like walking or climbing stairs difficult. Knee pain is often treated using nonsurgical methods first, but if these methods fail to relieve pain and improve symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Improvements in surgical techniques and materials have made the knee replacement one of the most successful procedures in medicine.
Indications for Surgery
Your surgeon will evaluate you to determine whether you are a candidate for total knee replacement, and will keep you informed every step of the way so that you can make the best possible decision about your healthcare. Indications for total knee replacement include severe pain or stiffness in the knee, which limits everyday activities; moderate or severe pain while at rest; chronic inflammation or swelling that does not improve with nonsurgical treatment; deformity of the knee; and symptoms that do not improve with nonsurgical treatment.
Before the procedure begins, anesthesia will be administered. Spinal anesthesia is often recommended. During a total knee replacement, the damaged portions of cartilage and bone are removed and replaced with implants to improve function in the knee.
First, the damaged cartilage and a small amount of bone are removed from the ends of the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) to prepare for the implants. Metal implant components are fitted into place at the ends of each bone to recreate the surface of the joint. Knee replacement implants may be cemented into place or “press-fit”, meaning that the surface of the implant is porous, allowing bone to grow into the implant to hold it in place.
After the metal components have been put into place, the patella, or kneecap, may be cut and resurfaced with a plastic component. Finally, a spacer made of medical-grade plastic is inserted between the two metal implants to allow the joint to glide smoothly. You will likely need to stay in the hospital for 2-3 days following the surgery.
While there will be some pain following surgery, you will be prescribed medication to help manage your pain. It is important to begin moving the knee as soon as possible following surgery, so pain management is very important. Most patients begin working with a physical therapist the day after surgery to help strengthen the leg and restore movement in the knee. You will learn exercises that will help you to begin walking and resume normal activities as soon as possible. You will typically work with a physical therapist for 3-6 weeks following surgery.
Most patients are able to return to normal daily activities within three to six weeks of surgery. Full recovery occurs several months following the procedure. However, while more than 90% of patients experience relief from knee pain following surgery, a total knee replacement will not allow you to do more than you could before you developed arthritis. You can take steps to protect and extend the life of your knee replacement by continuing with light exercise to maintain function in the knee; taking precautions to avoid falls and injuries; and trying to keep your weight in a healthy range.
Total Knee Replacement in Southwest Chicagoland
The highly skilled, fellowship-trained and board-certified orthopedic surgeons of Integrity Orthopedics value a physician/patient relationship based on education, compassion, and honesty, with the goal of returning patients to their normal lifestyles. We are a fully-staffed practice with on-site physical therapy. If you have any questions about total knee replacement, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our office at (708) 429-3455.