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Knee Replacement: What Is It & What To Expect From It

Knee replacement surgery is a more frequent affair among the older demographics. One of the main reasons behind this is osteoporosis. This disease renders lower bone density, making them weak and brittle. Even minor falls can cause serious fractures which prove to be painful for the elderly.

The procedure of a full knee replacement surgery or also known as knee arthroplasty helps in relieving the pain and restoring mobility in a distressed knee joint. It involves cutting away damaged bone and cartilage from your shinbone, thighbone, and knee cap, and replacing it with a prosthesis made of high-quality metal alloys, plastics, and polymers.

Any patient’s, irrespective of their age, should understand that recovery and rehabilitation is an extremely crucial part of the entire procedure. A knee replacement surgery can only be called successful, once the patient regains his/her mobility after surgery, treatment, and physiotherapy. Orthopaedic doctors, surgeons, and experts from all over the world, including Dr Sandeep Kapoor, leading orthopaedic surgeon and bone specialist of Lucknow, recommends to a have a proper rehabilitation and recovery plan built before the surgery.

A prior plan can help the patient:

1. By allowing him/her to leave the hospital sooner

2. Strengthen the replaced knee to achieve better mobility and efficiency

3. Gradually resume living independently

4. Man-oeuvre possible health complications

Hospitals often discharge knee replacement patients, 1 to 5 days after the surgery. If the patient takes proper care, he/she can resume independent living by doing most of the daily activities, 6 weeks after the surgery. Overall, it takes three to six months for an average patient to recover 100% from the surgery.

Knee surgery methods have developed drastically over time. With the advent of new technology, it has been possible for health professionals to use more durable, sustainable, and efficient elements as materials for the prosthesis. Any well-off hospital conducting a knee replacement surgery will declare their patients fit to be discharged within the first 4-5 days of surgery.

A normal knee replacement surgery can last up to 1 to 2 hours, depending on the procedure picked up by the surgeon. The doctors might make an 8-to 10-inch incision in the front of your knee and take out the damaged part of the joint from the thighbone and the shinbone They will then implant the prosthesis.

On the other hand, a more hassle-free surgery is the minimally invasive knee replacement. The surgeon in this case makes a shorter opening ranging between 4-to 6-inches. This lowers the chances of damaging the muscles and tendons.

It generally takes around 30 good days to feel an improvement in flexibility in your leg. Walking and climbing the stairs might seem hard at first for obvious reasons. Therefore, using walking aids like crutches, canes, walkers, parallel bars, etc. can help you regain mobility sooner. Disciplined sessions of physiotherapy, movement exercises, and physical activities under supervision of orthopedic doctors, physiotherapists, or nurses, can help you recover faster from your surgery.

Here we have answered some of the most common questions of patients about post-knee replacement surgery:

What Do the First 24 Hours Feel Like After the Surgery?

After waking up from anesthesia, the patient will begin to feel his or her legs again. During most surgeries, doctors treat pain using pain-relief methods with minimum side effects. If the pain is under control, the patient will be asked to stand up and take a few steps with the aid of a physiotherapist or a walker. When the patient meets the discharge criteria, he/she will be discharged from the hospital. Statistically, patients who get up and put weight on their newly replaced knee recover faster than the ones who don’t.

How Will I Know the Weight Capacity of My New Knee?

After a knee replacement surgery, patients are given weight-bearing guidelines to maintain not only during their stay at the hospital but also in their homes. Certain factors determine the right amount of weight that you can put on your new knew.

These are:

1. Nature of the surgery (total replacement vs one-sided knee replacement)

2. Material and quality of prosthesis used to fixate natural bone

3. Natural bone health (strength, growth, and density) of the patient

Through exercises and physiotherapy sessions, patients of any age can regain mobility and efficiency on their new knee in no time.

After How Many Days Is Knee Replacement Patient Discharged from the Hospital?

Most knee replacement patients are discharged within 24 hours of the surgery if their pain is under control. Hospitals have a set of physical activities which act as a criterion for discharge.

These activities include:

  1. Getting and out of bed

  2. Climbing up and down a flight of stairs

  3. Bend the knee to 90 degrees

  4. Walk 150 to 300 feet with the aid of crutches

  5. Follow precaution to avoid bumping into objects with the new knee

Discharge criteria differ from one hospital to another. The primary lookout for every hospital to discharge a patient when they are habituated with their newly replaced knee and can do the bare minimum with the aid of crutches or walkers.

These are just some of the most common pointers shared by doctors and orthopedic surgeons from around the world regarding post-knee replacement surgery. For more information on how to prepare for a knee replacement surgery or other orthopedic related queries, contact Dr Sandeep Kapoor, leading orthopedic surgeon and bone specialist in Lucknow.

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