A total knee replacement is a surgical procedure wherein the damaged knee is replaced with an artificial material or implant. It is also known as knee arthroplasty. This procedure is performed to relieve joint pain and disability most commonly for patients with osteoarthritis, and for damage from other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and trauma or injury.
A knee replacement surgery may be considered for those patients who knee joints have been severely damaged. This can either be due to conditions like arthritis, sever injury or trauma, or any other disease that may cause damage to the knee joint. The most common cause for the need for knee replacement remains arthritis, which can present with the following symptoms:-
The following tests and diagnostic methods are used in order to diagnose problems with the joints:
An incision is made at the front of the knee in order to access the kneecap (patella). The patella is then rotated outside the knee area in order to get a better view of the area that needs to be repaired and operated on. The femur (thigh bone) is then measured and resurfaced and the damaged bone and cartilage from the end of the femur is cut away using special instruments to fit the metal femoral component of the artificial knee is at the end of the femur. Next, the tibia (shinbone) is resurfaced by removing the damaged bone and cartilage and then reshaped in order to fit the plastic and metal tibial components. The patella is then readjusted. The surgeon might flatten the patella and attach an additional plastic component in order to fit with the rest of the implant. The functioning of the implant is checked by bending and flexing the knee and the incision is closed with stitches or staples.
Total knee replacement is a major operation and there are certain risks associated with the same.
The procedure is usually one and a half to three hours long. The patient’s vitals are monitored in a recovery room and physical therapy can begin after 48 hours. The patient may have to stay in the hospital for a minimum of 5 days. A device called continuous passive motion (CPM) may be used to speed recovery. Walkers or crutches will be required initially and the patient will have to perform certain home exercises prescribed by the doctor.