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Embracing Mobility: A Beginner’s Guide to Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a procedure to replace a knee damaged caused by arthritis or injury with artificial parts. It is a common surgery that can offer a significant improvement in quality of life for those suffering from severe knee pain or mobility issues.

If you or a loved one are considering this life-changing procedure, here's what you need to know.

Why knee replacement surgery?

Knee replacement surgery is recommended after other treatments like medications, physical therapy, or less invasive surgical procedures haven't provided relief.

Knee replacement surgery helps patients with:

  • Severe knee pain (arthritis)
  • Swelling and stiffness of knees
  • Wear and tear of knee joints
  • Knee injury 
  • Reduced mobility

Procedure Details

Before the surgery

  • You'll undergo various tests to ensure you're healthy enough for the procedure.
  • You might also meet with a physical therapist to discuss rehabilitation post-surgery.
  • Inform your doctor about your medications, as some may need to be temporarily discontinued. 

During the procedure

  • On the day of the surgery, you'll receive anesthesia. Anesthesia options may include local, regional, or general anesthesia. 
  • The surgeon cuts the front of your knee to expose the joint.
  • The damaged parts of your knee joint, including the ends of the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia), are carefully removed. The surgeon shapes the remaining bone to fit the artificial joint.
  • The surgeon places the new artificial joint, made of metal and plastic, into your knee. This prosthesis mimics the function of a healthy knee.
  • The surgeon moves your knee to ensure it works properly. They then close the incision with stitches or staples

Recovery post-knee replacement surgery

  • Recovery involves a hospital stay, followed by rehabilitation.
  • You'll work with physiotherapists to regain strength and mobility.
  • Most patients return to normal activities within 6 weeks, with complete recovery taking up to 6 months.

Possible Risks

As with any surgery, there are risks involved with knee replacement surgery, including:

  • Infection
  • blood clots
  • implant problems
  • nerve damage

However, modern surgical techniques and post-operative care greatly minimize these risks.

When to seek medical attention?

Contact your doctor if you experience:

  • Signs of a blood clot: sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough
  • Signs of infection: fever, redness or tenderness of the knee, and pus drain from the surgical wound

In conclusion, knee replacement surgery could be the key to a more active and pain-free life. With your new knee, you can look forward to less pain and improved function, but it's essential to follow your doctor's advice on activity levels to ensure your new joint lasts as long as possible.