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What is knee joint replacement?

Knee joint replacement surgery involves removing damaged bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap and replacing it with prosthesis made of metal alloys, polymers and high-grade resins. The surgery can help relieve discomfort and restore function in severely damaged knee joints.

When is a knee replacement surgery recommended?

Arthritis is the most common reason for the cause of knee joint replacement. This includes both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Knee discomfort or stiffness that prevents you from doing daily activities like walking, climbing stairs, sitting or getting off the chairs. It may be difficult for you to walk more than a few steps without experiencing substantial discomfort, necessitating the use of a cane or walker.

Knee replacement surgery is only recommended when other, less intrusive therapies have failed, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone injections, lubricating injections, and physical therapy (Physiotherapy).

Types of knee joint replacement surgery
  • Total knee replacement: The joint surfaces at the end of your thigh bone (femur) and the joint surface at the top of your shin bone (tibia) are replaced during the total knee replacement surgery. The underside of your kneecap (patella) may also be replaced with a smooth plastic dome during a total knee replacement. Some surgeons prefer to preserve as much of the natural patella as feasible.
  • Partial (unicompartimental) knee joint replacement: The knee is divided into three compartments: the inner (medial), the outside (lateral), and the kneecap (patellofemoral). If your arthritis has affected only one side of your knee, a partial knee replacement, also known as a unicompartmental replacement, will be carried out. This procedure results in faster recovery as it has less interference with the knee.
  • Kneecap replacement: If the underside of the kneecap and its groove (the trochlea) are the only components damaged by arthritis, they can be replaced separately, without the need of complete knee joint replacement surgery. This procedure is also known as a patellofemoral joint arthroplasty or patellofemoral joint replacement.
  • Complex or revision knee replacement: If you're having a second or third knee joint replacement in the same knee, or if your arthritis is severe, you may need a complicated knee replacement. The stem on a complicated or revision knee replacement is often longer, allowing the component to be placed in the bone cavity more securely.

The components interlocks in the knee's center to form a hinge for added stability. To compensate for any removed or substantially damaged bone, extra pieces of metal and/or plastic may be used.

Procedure:

Anesthesia will be given to you for knee joint replacement surgery. Your medical history and preferences will aid the doctors in deciding whether to give you a general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia.

To assist and to avoid post-surgical infection, you'll be given an intravenous antibiotic before, during, and after the procedure. It's possible that a nerve block around your knee will be utilized to numb it. The numbness gradually subsides after the surgery.

Your knee will be bent during the surgery to expose all surfaces of the joint. Your surgeon will make a long incision of 6 to 10 inch and will push your kneecap aside and cuts away the damaged joint surfaces.

After prepping the joint surfaces, the surgeon will assemble the pieces of the prosthetic joint. To ensure optimal function, the doctor will flex and rotate your knee before closing the incision. The procedure would take about two hours.

You will be escorted to the recovery room and the length of your stay after surgery will be determined by how well you are responding to the treatment. Many patients are discharged and are able to return home the same day. The painkillers prescribed by the doctor will help in subsiding the pain.

Preparation:

The doctor will inquire about your complete medical history, including any previous surgery or current medical conditions. Any medications you're taking or nutritional supplements. Before your surgery, you may need to stop taking some or all of these. Also, if you've ever had an allergic response to anesthesia, the doctor should be made aware about it.

What to expect after surgery?

Knee replacement gives pain relief, increased mobility, and a higher quality of life to the majority of people. Most daily activities, including as walking, climbing stairs, and moderate cleaning, can be resumed three to six weeks post-surgery. High-impact activities, such as jogging or any other sports activities that require jumping or any kind of pressure on your knee, should be avoided. The majority of knee replacements can survive up to 15 years.

The most advanced surgical methods and highly qualified doctors for knee joint replacement are found at Kapadia Hospital, Mumbai.

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