You may suffer from the destruction of knee joints due to the regular wear and tear or other issues. It can result in pain that progresses over time. The problem can result in impaired function of your knees leading to problems with mobility. Therefore, your doctor may suggest total knee replacement surgery. It is the invasive procedure to replace all parts of the knee joints with the prosthesis. A prosthesis is the manmade or artificial parts of the knee joints. But, you may have several questions regarding the surgery itself and the other issues associated with it. You can ask your doctor about it to get detailed information and make a sound decision. But, how do you know the right question that will provide you with the necessary information? Here are the common questions you can ask your doctor about the total knee replacement procedure.
1. What happens during the surgery?
When you undergo the operation, the surgeon can make incisions to remove the damaged parts. The surgeons move the kneecap to access the damaged bones as well as cartilage. It is cut from the body and replaced with artificial components. The synthetic but biologically compatible joints work well as it mimics your natural knee movement. The operation may take anywhere from 1.5 hours to 2 hours depending on the severity of the problem.
2. How much pain can you experience?
The doctor can give you anesthesia during the surgery to prevent the pain during the surgery. After the surgery, the pain medication is administered through an IV (intravenously). You can also take the medication orally to prevent discomfort. “After you go home, you can take pills or tablet until you heal to manage the pain”.
3. What are the pieces used in the knee replacement?
The implants used in the total knee replacement consists of medical-grade plastic as well as metal. For sealing the components to your bone, your surgeon can use two methods, bone cement or porous coating that attaches to the bone. The surgeon can opt either or both option depending on the situation.
4. What can you expect during recovery and rehabilitation?
You have to walk with the aid of crutches or walker to keep the weight of the knee. A physical therapist can assist you in bending and straightening of the knee after the surgery. You need to continue to the physical therapy regularly for some weeks. During the time, you need to engage in exercises to improve knee functionality. If your condition is severe or you have no help at home, you need to stay in the nursing facility or rehabilitation center.
5. What do you need at home for ensuring a full recovery?
After the surgery, you must avoid climbing stairs. So, it is better to stay on the ground floor. Avoid obstruction on your path as it increases the chances of falling. Therefore, make your house free of obstructions like clutters, rugs, power cords or furniture. Install handrails in your shower or tub to prevent accidents. Add shower seat to avoid pressure on the knees.
6. What activities can you engage after the surgery?
You can resume the normal activities like bathing and walking within a few days of the surgery. You can start low-impact exercise after your rehabilitation period, which can last from six to twelve weeks. It is better to consult your doctor before including any new activity during the rehabilitation period. But, avoid high-impact activities like running, jumping, cycling, and others.
7. Will the total knee replacement feel like the normal knee?
“In more than 30% of people undergoing total knee replacement surgery feel it like the normal knee“. Some may feel it is better than their normal knee.
8. How long does the total knee replacement last?
In more than 85% of people who have undergone total knee replacement surgery can see the artificial joints functioning for fifteen to twenty years. But, remember the wear and tear can vary from individual to individual and can affect the lifespan as well as performance. In most cases, young people need revision as the joints wear out during their lifetime.
It is always ideal to talk to your doctor regarding your concerns and doubts. You need to take the decision to have the surgery only after getting all the necessary information. Therefore, consult your surgeon to discuss your situation in detail.