Age, damage, excess weight, and osteoporosis can all contribute to damaged joints, especially the knee joint. If you have been struggling with knee pain, it may be time to consider knee replacement. If you would like to know more, keep reading.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Knee Replacement?
Typically, knee replacement surgery is performed on older Americans with joint disease, but younger patients may also need a knee replacement, depending on the symptoms. If your knee pain and inflammation make it hard to live your daily life, surgery may be the right choice. Typically, surgery is the last resort after other methods have failed.
You may also be a good candidate if:
- Your knee joint is deformed
- X-rays reveal severe joint degeneration
- The knee hurts when at rest
In addition, you'll need to be in good enough health to undergo surgery, which may mean losing some weight, getting your blood pressure under control, and much more.
What Happens During Surgery?
During surgery, the doctor makes a large incision to access the joint. The damaged cartilage (and possibly some damaged bone tissue) is removed. The surgeon replaces the tissue with metal implants at the end of the femur and the tibia bones.
In some cases, only a partial replacement is needed. If this is the case, only part of the joint is removed and replaced. Depending on your situation and your surgeon's preference, this procedure may be performed with general anesthesia or an epidural.
How Long Is Recovery?
Recovery starts soon after surgery. You want to start moving the knee to get the blood flowing. However, you may need to stay in the hospital for a few days. Full recovery can often take up to six months. At first, you'll take it easy but make sure to use the knee. As time progresses, your doctor will advise you on what you should be doing, such as exercises and stretches.
By about weeks four or six, you can talk to your physical therapist about returning to your normal daily routine and activities. During the healing process, make sure to exercise the knee and leg muscles.
Knee replacement is a serious surgery that can give you back your life. It's incredibly common, and with good care, a knee replacement can last a long time. If you are sick of knee pain and stiffness, it may be time to consider surgery.
For more information about joint replacements, contact a doctor today.