Knee replacement, also known as arthroplasty, consists of a surgical procedure to resurface a knee damaged by arthritis. The purpose of it is to relieve knee pain which cannot be controlled or treatment through other methods and procedures. This surgery is usually considered for individuals who have suffered from severe arthritis, or a terrible knee surgery.
The procedure of arthroplasty consists of metal and plastic parts being used to cap the ends of the bones which form the knee joint, along with the kneecap. Knee replacement surgery requires a stay in the hospital, however, the specific procedure can vary depending on one’s condition, the practices of your doctor.
The procedure commences with an IV being started in your arm, or hand. Your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and blood oxygen level is consistently monitored by an anesthesiologist during the surgery. An incision in the knee area will be made, and then, the damaged surfaces of the knee joint will be removed, and the knee joint will be resurfaced with the prosthesis. Following this, the incision will be closed with stitches or surgical staples.
There are numerous potential complications of a knee replacement surgery. These include the following:
- Loosening or wearing out the prosthesis
- Continued stiffness or pain
- Blood clots in the legs or lungs
It is possible that the replacement knee joint might become loose, get dislodged, or may not work the way it was intended and planned. Therefore, the potential of it having to be replaced again in the future is there.
Nerves or blood vessels present in the area of surgery might be injured, resulting in numbness or weakness. The joint pain might not be relieved by surgery.
It is important to ensure that you inform your doctor about any allergies or sensitivities towards any medications, tape, latex, and anesthetic agents (local and general). You should also inform your doctor about any medications and herbal supplements that you might be taking.
Furthermore, your doctor should be notified if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are having any anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medicines, aspirin, or other medicines playing a role in affecting blood clotting. It might be critical for you to stop all of these medications before the knee replacement surgery.
You should arrange for someone to help around the house for a few weeks once you are discharged from the hospital. Furthermore, you should also meet with a physical therapist before the surgery to discuss rehabilitation after it. It is absolutely crucial to be moving the new joint once the surgery is complete. A whole exercise plan will be prepared for you, and a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine might also be used to begin the physical therapy. This machine serves the purpose of moving your new knee joint through its range of motion while you are still resting in bed. Your pain will be controlled through medication, therefore, it is possible for you to participate in exercise.
It is important that all falls are avoided once the knee replacement surgery is done, as a fall can result in damage to the knee joint. You can potentially use an assistive device (cane or walker) to help you walk till you restore your strength and balance.
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