Total Knee Replacement

Introduction

Total knee replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces the damaged knee joint with an artificial material. It is a popular knee surgery that gives relief to the patients suffering from knee joint problems such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. It removes the damaged portion of the knee joint and restores the movement in the knee. It is a well-known procedure that has proven to be successful in many patients across age groups and therefore, it is conducted by many orthopedic surgeons. However, it is a critical surgery and requires expert handling.


When is it performed?

It is performed in case of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and other knee joint problems. It is recommended to patients only when non-surgical treatments have failed to work but before recommending the surgery, the surgeon conducts a proper medical evaluation of the patient with physical examination, X-ray, and other tests.


How is it performed?

Total knee replacement is performed under general or local anesthesia and can take one to two hours depending on the complexity of the case. The surgeon makes incisions in the knee and then removes the damaged cartilage and bone. In its place, metal or plastic implants are inserted and attached to the ends of the thigh and calf bones. A plastic spacer is also implanted between the metal pieces. After this, the incisions are stitched.


Recovery

The patient is discharged a few days after the surgery and for several days may feel pain and swelling in the knee. The doctor may prescribe medications for the pain. After the surgery, the patient must exercise caution in daily routine and take care not to put pressure on the knee. The patient can resume normal routine after four to six weeks when the knee has healed completely.