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Easier Recovery From Knee Replacement Possible

Easier Recovery From Knee Replacement Possible

When anchorman Brian Williams had knee replacement surgery in 2013, he blogged about the recovery, comparing it to his first knee surgery in 1977: “While the meds are better these days…post-operative pain remains the same.” Most of the 600,000 folks who have knee replacement surgery every year in North American would agree -- the pain is pretty excruciating. But for everyone with knee replacements on the horizon, there’s great news.

A new pain control technique offers patients relief for up to two days post-op, speeding up recovery and increasing knee function. In fact, many folks are up and walking hours after the surgery! What’s the secret? A Henry Ford Hospital study says that injecting a long-acting numbing medicine -- liposomal bupivacaine -- into the tissue around the knee during surgery does the trick.

Unfortunately as North Americans become increasingly overweight and obese, more and more people will need knee replacements: a June 2014 study found 95% of current surgeries were attributable to overweight or obesity. We’re glad for you folks who need a new knee that there’s improved pain control. But, honestly, you future candidates out there, wouldn’t you rather avoid the procedure altogether?

Well here’s another Do-Over opportunity. If you get to and maintain a healthy weight you may never need a knee replacement. So start walking say so-long to sodas, saturated and trans fats, sugary treats, and hello to nine servings of fruits and veggies a day. That’s the bees knees!

Medically reviewed in June 2019.

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