In case of severe damages to knee, a knee replacement surgery is chosen. This surgery aims to replace the torn knee with an artificial joint. In total replacement knee surgery, both sides of knee joint are surgically treated. It is a major surgery and hence is recommended only if other methods fail. Mostly people in between age of 60-80 years are surgically treated as they are physically little weaker than young people.
A proper examination of the person is done to determine the best anesthesia. This avoids any reaction to anesthesia. The anesthesia used may be spinal epidural, or general anesthesia, or regional nerve block anesthesia. The surgery is usually over in 1-2 hours. In this procedure, an incision is made on the knee to remove the damaged part. The damaged bone and cartilage on both side of the knee are cleared out. Implants made of plastic and metal are used to replace the damaged parts. These implants help to re-align the the torn knee. Thus a healthy and functionally improved knee is achieved. Stitches or staples are used for covering the wound.
Post-surgery, the patient is moved to a recovery room to monitor the condition. After the effect of anesthesia is gone, some pain will be felt by the patient. Medications are provided to give relief from pain. This gives a comfortable feeling to the patient. Wound care is essential. A balanced diet containing iron supplement is preferred. It enhances healing and strengthens muscle. In some patients, blood thinners or compression boots are used to prevent blood-clots. In addition, physical therapy is also recommended. The simple exercises included in therapy helps to regain the knee movement. The complete recovery is often attained in 1-2 months.
The possible complications included are:
- Excessive bone formation
- Stiff knee
- Dislocation of kneecap
- Damage to nearby nerves or ligaments