A total knee replacement is also known as a total knee arthroplasty - a surgical procedure to decrease pain and improve the quality of life in patients with severe arthritis or injury of the knee. This is recommended if other options, such as activity modification, anti-inflammatory medications or joint injections, failed.
You will undergo a pre-operative surgical risk assessment to evaluate your overall health and determine if there are any risk factors for the surgery. Routine blood tests, chest X-rays and electrocardiograms are examples of the evaluation measures. The surgery may be performed under an epidural, spinal or general anesthesia.
To begin the surgery, an incision of about 6 inches, depending on the complexity of your condition, will be made. Specialized rods will then be used to remove bone from the thighbone, shinbone and the underside of the kneecap. The replacement will be aligned and balanced with the knee ligaments.
Next, the new joint will be tested for flexion and ligament balance. Finally, the new joint will be cemented into place using bone cement and the incision is then closed using staples and stitches.
On average, patients remain in the hospital for three to four days after a total knee replacement.
Physical therapy is recommended post surgery. Your doctor and physical therapist will design a recovery plan specific to you. Your cooperation with this plan will be a key ingredient to successful recovery.
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