What is Knee Replacement?
Knee replacement is a metal and plastic covering for raw, arthritic bone ends. It replaces cartilage that has worn away over the years. Knee replacement can help relieve pain and get you back to enjoying normal, everyday activities. For those who have become bow-legged or knockkneed over the years, knee replacement can also straighten the legs into a more natural position.
Who Should Have Knee Replacement?
When severe pain limits your everyday activities such as walking, going up and down stairs and getting in and out of chairs, you may want to consider knee replacement surgery. You may benefit from surgery if you have moderate to severe knee pain while resting, swelling of the knee that does not improve with rest or medication, bowing in or out of your knee, or the inability to bend and straighten your knee.
Why Knee Replacement Surgery?
Knee replacement is one of the most important orthopedic surgical advances of this century. Each year, more than 700,000 Americans undergo knee replacement surgery that often helps them get back on their feet and resume active lifestyles.
How Long is the Hospital Stay?
The typical hospital stay after knee replacement surgery is 2-3 days. Walking and knee movement are important to your recovery and will begin the day after surgery. It is important to begin moving after surgery to get your blood flowing. This helps prevent blood clots and swelling from forming in your legs, which can occur from lack of activity. Signature Healthcare offers a dedicated hospital floor for our recovering orthopedic surgery patients, complete with in-unit physical and occupational therapy.
How Long is Recuperation?
Recovery varies with each person. It is essential during the first few weeks after surgery, to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding home care, especially the exercise program you are prescribed. You’ll most likely need crutches or a walker for 2-4 weeks and then a cane for another 2-4 weeks. Many individuals are able to resume most normal light activities of daily living within 3-6 weeks following surgery. Some discomfort with activity and at night is common for several weeks. Complete recovery can take about 3-6 months.
While most people will gradually increase activities that may include recreational walking, biking, swimming and golf, you will be advised to avoid more active sports such as jogging, high-impact aerobics, repetitive lifting exceeding 50 lbs. and contact sports.
Will I Need a Blood Transfusion?
Rarely, does a patient require blood transfusion and there is no need for pre-operative blood donation.
Are There Complications?
As with any surgery, there can be a risk of complications after knee replacement surgery. Fortunately, the risk is low. Blood clots are the most common complication after surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon will prescribe one or more measures to prevent blood clots from forming in your leg veins such as special support hose, inflatable leg coverings and blood thinners. You may also receive IV antibiotics for 24 hours to help prevent infection. Other complications could include implant loosening, fractures, and nerve or blood vessel damage. Your surgeon will be taking great care to reduce the risk of these and any other complications.
What about Pain?
Thanks to advances in medication technology, we are able to keep you relatively comfortable after surgery. You will receive an anti-inflammatory pill and pain pill prior to surgery, so that you will have pain relief when you recover from anesthesia.