Knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty) is a routine operation that involves replacing a damaged, worn or diseased knee with an artificial joint.
Adults of any age can be considered for a knee replacement, although most are carried out on people between the ages of 60 and 80. More people are now receiving this operation at a younger age. A replacement knee usually lasts over 20 years, especially if the new knee is cared for properly and not put under too much strain.
When a knee replacement is needed?
Knee replacement surgery is usually necessary when the knee joint is worn or damaged to the extent that your mobility is reduced and you experience pain even while resting. The most common reason for knee replacement surgery is osteoarthritis. Other conditions that cause knee damage include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Disorders that cause unusual bone growth (Bone Dysplasias)
- Death of bone in the knee joint following blood supply problems (Avascular Necrosis)
- Knee injury
- Knee deformity with pain and loss of cartilage
Who is offered knee replacement surgery?
You may be offered knee replacement surgery if:
- You have severe pain, swelling and stiffness in your knee joint and your mobility is reduced.
- Your knee pain is so severe that it interferes with your quality of life and sleep.
- Everyday tasks, such as shopping or getting out of the bath, are difficult or impossible.
- You’re feeling depressed because of the pain and lack of mobility.
- You can’t work or have a normal social life.
Types of knee replacement surgery
There are two main types of surgery, depending on the condition of the knee:
- Total knee replacement (TKR) – both sides of your knee joint are replaced.
- Partial (half) knee replacement (PKR) – only one side of your joint is replaced.
in a smaller operation with a shorter hospital stay and recovery period
Choosing a specialist
Choose a specialist who performs knee replacement regularly and can discuss their results with you. This is even more important if you’re having a second or subsequent knee replacement (revision knee replacement), which is more difficult to perform.
Preparing for knee replacement surgery
Before you go into hospital, find out as much as you can about what’s involved in your operation. Stay as active as you can. Strengthening the muscles around your knee will aid your recovery. If you can, continue to take gentle exercise, such as walking and swimming, in the weeks and months before your operation. You can be referred to a physiotherapist, who will give you helpful exercises.
with you and attending a pre-operative assessment.
Recovering from knee replacement surgery
- Patients normally require hospitalization for 3-4 days in single knee replacement, and up to 7 days in both knee replacement surgery
- Under normal circumstances, patients are allowed to stand with walker support on next day of surgery. Ambulation with walker starts within 2-3 days, depending upon the medical condition and pain control.
- Staples / stitches are normally removed 2 weeks after surgery. In case of Diabetic patients with delayed wound healing, staple removal may be delayed by a few days. Absorbable sutures for skin should be avoided due to risk of reaction in some patients.
- Under normal circumstances, patients are able to walk without support after 3 weeks in single knee replacement surgery. In both knee replacement surgery, they take approximately 5-6 weeks.