What is Knee Replacement Surgery?
Knee replacement Surgery, also called arthroplasty is a surgical procedure which replaces the knee joint with metal and plastic materials in a bid to resolving knee pain caused by severe arthritis.
The knee joint is made up of the ends of the thigh bone and the upper part of the leg bone, the tibia. The kneecap or patella also forms a part of the knee joint. These bones are held together by strong ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
When is Knee Replacement Surgery Performed?
Knee replacement surgery is done if you have any form of arthritis that is unresponsive to medical and nonsurgical treatments. There are various forms of arthritis and they include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis which results after a severe injury to your knee.
Osteoarthritis results from age-related wear and tear of the components of the knee joint, while rheumatoid arthritis is damage to the knee joint caused by overactive immune cells.
If you have been taking the appropriate medications for these conditions, and have even employed nonsurgical treatment and your knee pain is not resolving, your doctor will recommend a knee replacement surgery.
How is a Knee Replacement Surgery Performed?
Your doctor would explain the procedure to you, and inform you of the risks of the surgery. You will be given a consent form to sign to grant them a go-ahead to do the surgery.
Before the day of the surgery, your doctor will ask for your complete medical history, perform a physical examination on you to determine your state of health, and might even recommend some tests to rule out any major medical condition which may complicate the surgery.
You will be told to fast for 8 hours before the surgery. Just before the surgery, you will be asked to take your clothes off, and put on a gown. You will have an intravenous line set in your wrist or elbow through which sedatives and an anaesthetic drugs to put you in a temporary deep sleep are given.
You will lie on the operating table, the doctor will then make an incision in your knee area to access the knee joint. When this is done, the damaged parts of the component bones of the knee joint are removed and replaced with prosthesis made of plastic and metal.
After this is done, the incision is stitched back and dressed. A drainage tube may be left in place to drain fluid which may accumulate after the surgery.
You will be taken to the recovery room, then transferred to your hospital room if you develop no post-operative complication. You are likely to spend a couple of days on admission before you are discharged.
On discharge, your doctor would give you several instructions such as avoiding falls or removing anything that could make you trip easily in your home. You will also be told to avoid driving and climbing stairs for a certain period of time.
What Risks are Associated with Knee Replacement Surgery?
Possible risks of knee replacement surgery include dislodging of the prosthesis, bleeding, infection of the operation site, and nerve damage.