The largest joint in your entire body is the knee joint. Your knees are used in a variety of ways on a daily basis. We need our knees to walk, run, and climb the stairs. For a normal and active lifestyle you need to keep your knee in top condition. However, if the knee is severely damaged by repeated injury or arthritis this can sometimes leave a person with a decreased level of activity. When this happens steps to repair your knee would be necessary in order to restore it back to its previous condition.
The first knee replacement surgery was performed in 1968. Over the years the technique for this particular type of surgery has advanced to a greater degree. If your knee has been damaged either by arthritis or injury your physician may recommend you to have a total knee replacement. Some of the reasons that your physician might suggest a total knee replacement might be because of pain, swelling, inflammation, stiffness, a decreased level of activity, and/or deformities. The majority of total knee replacements are done in the older person, approximately 60 to 80 years of age.
Other aspects when considering whether or not a person is a candidate for a total knee replacement are determined by an orthopedic examination. The orthopedic examination along with risk factors involved will determine whether total knee replacement surgery will take place.
During a total knee replacement surgical procedure the damaged knee joint is removed and the surrounding joint will be cleaned out. A new artificial knee joint will then be put into its place. The total knee replacement surgery itself will take approximately 2 hours. This is generally done under general anesthesia. The components that make up the replacement knee joint will be a combination of plastic and metal.
After surgery you will be taken to the recovery room for approximately two more hours. Then you will go to your hospital room. Your hospital stay will be several days and then you will be discharged to home to recover further and readjust to your new artificial joint. Staples that were placed during the surgery will need to be removed after a few weeks. Physical therapy will take place at the time the physician deems necessary.
The most important thing to watch for is any complications as a result of the total knee replacement surgery. You will especially need to watch for any signs of infection or blood clot formation.
After physical therapy is complete any previous pain should be reduced significantly or at the very least controlled with some medication. The goal, as in any surgical procedure, is decreased pain and an improved lifestyle with a resumption of most of your daily activities. This will be accomplished with hard work during recovery and a success in physical therapy treatment sessions.
Emory Healthcare: Total Knee Replacement
Southern California Orthopedic Insitute: Minimally Invasive Total Knee Replacement
MayoClinic: Knee Replacement
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons: Total Knee Replacement