What is Knee Replacement surgery?
In case the knee gets severely damaged due to an injury or disease of the knee joint then performing everyday activities starts to seem like a bother. You also experience pain and other discomforting symptoms in such cases. When the alternate non-surgical methods fail to address the problems effectively then the doctor might suggest a tkr surgery for successful and long-lasting results.
A total knee replacement surgery (knee arthroplasty) is actually a ‘resurfacing’ procedure rather than a total ‘replacement’ procedure.
There are 4 main steps involves in this procedure:
- Preparing the joint bone – This part of the surgery involves removing the damaged cartilage and bone ends from the tibia and the fibula along with a margin of the healthy bone.
- Implant positioning – The metal implants are then used by fitting them over the prepared bone surfaces of the joint. This can be achieved by either cementing the metal implants in place or using ‘press-fit’ implants.
- Patellar resurfacing – This step involves cutting and resurfacing the underside of the patella (kneecap) using a plastic button. This is usually not required in all the cases.
- Inserting ‘Spacer’ – This involves inserting a disc-like plastic implant between the metal components of the patella. This spacer helps to provide the necessary lubrication required for movement in the knee joint.
This is one of the most effective treatment methods for severely damaged knee joints but the after-care and instructions followed in the recovery period can make a significant difference in its success and failure as well.
What are the important tips to be followed for a successful recovery after knee replacement surgery?
The doctor/surgeon will inform you about the possible risks and complications that might be seen in rare cases after a knee surgery although every precautionary measure is taken to ensure that the patient does not face any of the risks associated with major surgical procedures (such as infections, blood clot, hemorrhage, etc) after a knee surgery.
These are the usual instructions that are vital for a successful recovery after knee replacement surgery:
It is advisable to get treated with the best physiotherapist that can be afforded. An experienced and advanced physiotherapist can help to restore strength and movement in the operated knee joint.
Vital 24 Hours
The first 24 hours after the surgery are most vital and the nurses and physiotherapist will combine their expertise to help you with effective ways of moving about as soon as possible. It is not unusual to see a patient standing on their own just 24 hours after the knee replacement surgery.
Initially, when you are able to stand and move about following a knee replacement surgery the doctor/physiotherapist will advise using walking sticks (canes) or other similar walking device to help learning to walk with the new knee joint for a few days following surgery.
Temporary braces are also used in hospitals to support the leg in case there was extensive damage to the ligaments supporting the affected knee joint.
Protection at Home
It is vital to note that you need to be well-prepared before departing for your home following a knee replacement surgery. The experts and orthopedic doctors will advise you best on the normal important precautions to be taken at home.
The physiotherapist/occupational therapist will give you important tips on how to navigate the layout of your home while keeping the newly-operated knee as safe as possible. These will include tips on how to effectively perform regular everyday activities without discomfort and too much pain.
The team of specialists and doctors attending you will be able to keep better track of the success of the operation as well as check for possible complications that might arise after a knee replacement surgery during routine and regular follow-up check-ups at the hospital.
Help at Home
It is advised to find someone who can assist you for several days with certain activities at home. This can be in the form of a family member or a friend who can keep a check on you regularly.
The occupational therapist/physiotherapist will advise you on the exercises that you should perform regularly at home after the knee replacement surgery. These are meant to improve the strength and also allow for greater movement in the operated knee joint.
Watch out for Warning Signs
There are certain signs that need to be checked regularly as they can signify the development of various complications, such as blood clots, chest pains (angina), etc.
It is most important to note that in order to make the knee surgery successful and effective the patient needs to follow all instructions given by the doctor/specialist following the surgery. A relaxed and fruitful recovery period can mean the difference between a successful and a failed knee replacement surgical procedure.