What Is a Total Knee Replacement?
During a total knee replacement, also referred to as knee arthroplasty, damaged cartilage and a small portion of the underlying bones are removed and replaced with metal components. Knee arthroplasty is performed when less invasive procedures are unable to repair the joint damage.
When Is a Total Knee Replacement Recommended?
Patients who need a total knee replacement have symptoms that interfere with everyday activities:
- Pain during movement, including walking, standing, and climbing stairs
- Persistent pain, even when resting or trying to sleep
- A visible knee deformity, such as bowing in or out
Who Is a Candidate?
After an evaluation, an orthopedic surgeon may recommend a total knee replacement. This decision is made in consultation with the patient and their primary care doctor.
- The patient must be healthy enough to go through surgery and commit to the recovery process.
- Patients of all ages can benefit from knee replacement surgery.
- For many patients, medication and physical therapy have been tried and failed to provide adequate pain relief.
Why Is a Knee Replacement Needed?
There are several reasons why a knee joint becomes damaged and requires surgery. In most cases, it is some form of arthritis.
Post Traumatic Arthritis
A knee injury can damage the joint and cause post-traumatic arthritis.
As the articular cartilage breaks down, the tibia and femur to rub against each other. This leads to pain, swelling, decreased range of motion, weakening of the surrounding muscles and mechanical symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes chronic inflammation that can also damage the cartilage.
What Does Surgery Look Like?
Total knee replacement surgery is performed under anesthesia. The surgery typically lasts one to two hours. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, total knee replacement consists of the following steps:
- Damaged cartilage is removed, along with a small portion of the underlying femur and tibia.
- The ends of the femur and tibia are then resurfaced.
- Metal components are placed over the femur and tibia.
- A spacer is placed between the femur and tibia to allow smooth movement of the joint.
- The undersurface of the kneecap is covered with a button. The kneecap may or may not be resurfaced.
What Does Recovery Look Like?
It is important for patients to follow their orthopedic surgeon's instructions. After being discharged, recovery at home consists of:
- Follow-up appointments
- Wound care
- Proper nutrition
- Increasing activity
- Attending physical therapy
Initially, patients will need to make accommodations at home as their activity will be restricted. Patients who live alone should arrange for someone to help them. In most cases, patients can resume everyday activities in three to six weeks and driving in four to six weeks.
Why Choose Gustavel Orthopedics for a Total Knee Replacement?
The success of Gustavel Orthopedics is defined by our expertise, quality of service and level of care. Our orthopedic team ensures a one-on-one approach to understand specific needs and develop a program tailored toward the individual. Then, we work to achieve the best treatment goals to ensure faster recovery so you can get going again. Schedule a consultation regarding total knee replacement with our orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Michael J Gustavel.