Is knee replacement surgery on your calendar? Here are some things you should know about knee replacement recovery.
What exactly is knee replacement? Knee replacement means you’ve opted to replace your worn out joint with an artificial joint. When other treatments, such as pain meds, injections, etc. can no longer relieve your pain, doctors may suggest a knee replacement. Dr Santosh Shetty, a Renowned Orthopaedic & Joint Replacement Surgeon in Mumbai says that knee replacement surgery involves replacing some of the damaged bone and cartilage in the joint, with a smooth gliding surface made of metal and Polyethylene ( plastic ).
Total knee replacement – This is the most common form. Your surgeon replaces the surface of the thigh bone and shin bone that connects to the knee.
Partial knee replacement – If arthritis affects only one side of your knee, this surgery may be a good option. However, it’s only possible if you have strong knee ligaments. Partial knee replacement can be performed through a smaller cut than is needed for total knee replacement.
Kneecap replacement – This replaces only the under-surface of the kneecap. Some surgeons advise against this procedure, as total knee replacement surgery has a higher rate of success.
Complex (or revision) knee replacement – This procedure may be needed if you have severe arthritis, or if you’ve already had more than one knee replacement surgery in the past.
Preparing For Your Surgery:
The best way to prepare for the surgery is to follow your doctor’s orders to optimize your health, since diabetes and obesity can negatively influence the outcome. You can also engage in some exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee. Ask questions to your doctor about the duration of the surgery, the type of anesthesia that will be used, the side effects you might face etc. Before surgery, learn the physical therapy exercises you’ll need to do later. Try them out in advance, as it can make performing them after the procedure much easier. Last but not the least, follow all the orders given by your doctor. Mark detailed orders on a calendar so you won’t forget.
Managing pain after surgery
The severity of post-surgical pain depends upon the pain threshold of an individual & may vary from patient to patient.To ease post-operative pain, doctors suggest opioid pain medication. However, patients are encouraged to switch to non-narcotic medication as soon as possible.
The recovery is a year-long process that occurs in three phases:
First six weeks: Heal, reduce swelling, and regain movement.
Next three to five months: Build endurance and muscle strength through regular-life activity and exercise.
Final six months: Continue to gain strength and mobility.