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Total Knee Replacement (Arthroplasty): Everything You Need to Know

Total Knee Replacement (Arthroplasty): Everything You Need to Know

If you suffer from knee damage due to injury or arthritis, it can be very difficult to carry on with everyday tasks. Damaged knee joints can cause chronic discomfort that can significantly impact on daily activities, and can also cause discomfort during sleep. This significant loss of range of motion, and the possible accompanying pain can also limit the enjoyment of some sporting activities such as running, golfing, or even walking. 

The knee is the largest and one of the most complex joints in the body, and any significant damage or pain means that the body’s stability and function is considerably compromised. Depending on the severity of the injury, in some cases, nonsurgical treatments may no longer be effective, and thus, a total knee replacement may be required. However, how can you determine whether knee replacement surgery is the way forward for you, and what can you expect?

Whether you are just beginning to consider treatment options or you have already made a decision, this article will help you learn a bit more about total knee replacement surgery.

What Is Total Knee Replacement and How Does It Work?

There are three bones that make up healthy knees: the kneecap (or patella), the end of the tibia, and the end of the femur. Articular cartilage protects the surfaces of these bones and allows for smooth movement within the joint. If there is significant impact to any of these surfaces due to an injury or atrophy, total knee replacement may be the best solution to regain a pain free range of motion and return to your normal lifestyle. 

Knee arthroplasty, or total knee replacement, is a surgical process that mends damaged surfaces, alleviates pain, and resurfaces the knee joint. During this treatment, your surgeon will cover the ends of the bones that make up the kneecap and knee joint with plastic components or prosthetic metal. Total knee replacement surgery strives to maintain the patient’s quality of life, decrease pain, and increase knee function.

What is the Purpose of Total Knee Replacement Surgery?

Overtime, overexertion can wear out parts of the knee, which can result in excessive knee pain in some people. Some conditions such as arthritis or traumatic injury can also impact the ability of the knee to fully function. 

As a result, simple tasks such as walking, climbing stairs, or even getting in and out of a car can become very challenging. In some cases, the excruciating discomfort caused by a damaged knee persists even while sitting or simply relaxing. 

A physician may prescribe total knee replacement if a patient has the following symptoms:

  • Direct trauma to the knee joint
  • Progressive arthritis
  • Knee pain while resting
  • Knee stiffness that interferes with movements such as walking or climbing stairs
  • Chronic knee pain and inflammation
  • Where other treatments have failed to work

What is Recovery Like After Total Knee Replacement?

A total knee replacement uses a minimally invasive approach, resulting in speedier recovery times and less pain and scarring. Patients heal at varying speed, however, those who have a full knee replacement should expect several months’ worth of recuperation. Following the surgery, the doctor will offer patients detailed instructions on how to manage their situation and how to aid their recovery progress. 

The first few weeks following surgery are the trickiest times and the most uncomfortable for many. Pre-planning with house modifications or calling on extra pairs of hands in these challenging times can alleviate a lot of the strain. 

To further aid your healing, you can start strengthening and restoring your joints and muscles and regaining your range of motion quite soon after surgery. Your doctor or health professional will advise you about the best physical therapy rehabilitation program to suit you. 

Physical therapists can meet with post surgery patients as early as the following day. Some patients can resume doing light activities three to six days after their surgery, and they can even get behind a wheel as quickly as a month later. 

To secure successful treatment, it is always advisable to do thorough research before selecting a highly experienced orthopedic surgeon for your total knee replacement surgery. Here at Thunder Basin Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, we pride ourselves on world class expertise and exceptional patient care to ensure successful surgery and a quick recovery. 

The Complications & Risks of Total Knee Replacement

Although all medical interventions carry some level of risk, total knee replacement surgery has a very low complication rate. The following are some of the possible complications linked to total knee replacement:

  • Nerve damage
  • Pain that persists after surgery
  • Implant complications
  • Blood clots forming in the legs
  • Infection

How Long Does It Take To Recover From The Surgery?

One of the primary reasons some patients refuse to have knee replacement surgery is the potential risk of undergoing revision surgery in years to come to repair an aged prosthetic knee joint. Fortunately, today, modern knee replacements are more durable than ever due to the advancements in surgical procedures and the development of longer-lasting prosthetic materials.

The modern prosthetics used in knee replacements today are expected to last up to 25 years. According to a study conducted in 2019 with over 50,000 participants, only 10% of patients who had a total knee replacement needed revision surgery after 25 years. While prostheses are more robust nowadays, the recovery times following surgery have also significantly reduced, allowing patients to resume their daily activities much sooner.

Thunder Basin Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Is Here To Help You Recover

At Thunder Basin Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, our world class surgeons have extensive experience diagnosing, preventing, and treating a wide range of sports injuries and medical conditions. 

If you have any concerns about your health or you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our sports medicine physicians, don’t hesitate to call us or fill out our online appointment request form. 

We would be delighted to help you and assist you in reaching your top performance.