Knee Replacement

Knee Replacement

Knee Replacement
Painful knees are a common problem - often the result of wear-and-tear from sports injuries or obesity, which leads to a degenerative form of arthritis called osteoarthritis. Pain relievers and other treatments can help. When knee damage is severe, a total knee replacement can relieve the pain and allow you to be more active again. Learn more about knee replacement surgery from out experts.

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  • 5 Answers
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    A , Orthopedic Surgery, answered
    I call total knee replacement, "healing with steel."  Total knee replacement is one of Orthopaedic Surgery's most successful procedures.  We have been replacing knees for more than 30 years and have a huge body of literature documenting the best ways to diagnose, implant as well as the  outcomes of total knee surgery.
    The purpose of any joint replacement is to remove the arthritic ends of the long bones, which cause patients so much pain and dysfunction, and realign the biomechanical axis of the joint.  When the cartilage of a knee wears down the patient's leg often becomes profoundly bow legged or knock kneed.  Replacement makes the leg straight again.
    In addition to x-ray evidence of cartilage loss and joint deformity, a patient is ready for knee replacement when they can't take the pain another day and when they want to get their life back.
    Knee replacement is major surgery requiring 2-4 days of hospitalization post-op and about 3 months of out patient rehab afterwards.  Following replacement we encourage patients to return to as much activity as possible.  I let my patients with total knees to anything except long distance running and there are many athletes in the senior olympic games with total joints
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  • 2 Answers
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    A Orthopedic Surgery, answered on behalf of
    A healthy diet before knee replacement surgery includes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, such as chicken or fish, and whole grains. Our bodies need the basic ingredients to build up our blood levels preoperatively and to heal tissues after surgery. This is just as important for hip replacement surgery.
     
    Multiple studies have shown that the incidence of complications including infection and delayed healing is directly related to nutritional status. Many people who are remarkably over weight actually are malnourished. Therefore, optimizing the nutritional status pre-operatively is very important.

    Trinity Health recognizes that people seek medical information on a variety of topics for a variety of reasons. Trinity Health does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. As a Catholic health care organization, Trinity Health acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition.

    Please note, the information contained on this website is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider if you have questions regarding your medical condition or before starting any new treatment. In the event of a medical emergency always call 911 or proceed to your nearest emergency care facility.
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  • 1 Answer
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    After knee replacement surgery, if you notice symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) -- a clot forming in your lower leg -- do not massage the calf of your leg. Call your doctor even if it is after hours so you can be examined and treated if needed -- it may be necessary to go to the emergency room.

    Symptoms of DVT include:
    • Pain or tenderness in the calf of your lower leg that gets worse when you pull your foot forward
    • Increased skin temperature over your calf
    Call 911 if you have an emergency such as severe bleeding, chest pain, or severe shortness of breath.
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    Recovery from a total knee replacement is truly a multidisciplinary approach.  

    After surgery, you'll be taken to the recovery room and monitored by a registered nurse. After you awaken from anesthesia, you'll be taken to your hospital room. Typically, you'll remain in the hospital for three to four days, depending on your recovery. You may feel some pain that will be managed with medication to make you as comfortable as possible. To avoid lung congestion after surgery, you should breathe deeply and cough frequently to keep your lungs clear

    Walking and knee movement are very important for recovery. Usually the first day after surgery, you'll begin to work with a physical therapist who will teach you exercises to regain full leg and knee movement. During your hospital stay, you'll attend physical therapy one to two times a day. An occupational therapist and nurse discharge planner will help you prepare for your return home.

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    A Emergency Room Nursing, answered on behalf of

    Your physician may have you attend a 'joint camp' where the procedure and recovery are explained to you in an educational manner. You may also need physical therapy prior to the surgery. 

    To prepare your home and yourself, consider the following: the location of your bed; where the bathroom is located in relation to your bed; the number of stairs you must navigate to enter and exit the house; who will be able to stay with you for the first few days/week; how you will get to therapy, or will therapy come to you; and who will provide you with meals and company. 

  • 1 Answer
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    Risks and complications are a part of any surgical procedure, particularly the risk of unexpected reactions to anesthesia and potential excessive bleeding. There is also a 3 percent risk of infection after surgery. Often patients are administered antibiotics as a prophylactic measure to minimize this risk. However, should infection occur an implant might need to be removed and subsequently replaced.

    The primary long-term complication specific to a total knee replacement is the eventual need to replace the implant in about 10 to 15 years. This is because the implant will wear out with use and over time, particularly if the patient is physically active. The lifespan of the implant can be extended through weight loss and the curtailing of high-impact activities like running and jumping. However, the implant will still deteriorate with the passage of time, especially if the patient is under 65.

    While total knee replacement surgery has become routine and many hospitals have orthopedic surgeons who only perform this procedure, there still exists the possibility for complications. It is unfortunately not a rare occurrence for the alignment in a replacement knee to be set so that added wear and strain is placed on the implant. This can result in dislocation of the artificial joint and discomfort.

    Another possible complication of this surgery involves the patella. The kneecap is moved aside during the procedure and when replaced, it may present unevenness in the tissue or instability. It may even direct touch the implant and this can cause discomfort.

    Most joint failures can be attributed to the loosening of the implant from the bones. This can be a result of bone tissue that is deteriorating. The joint is protected by a synovial membrane (a thin layer of tissue) which provides lubrication to the joint and eliminates foreign matter. If the synovial membrane becomes inflamed it fills the joint with extra fluid. This excess liquid applies pressure and adds force when the joint is moved and causes the tissue to break down. Symptoms of synovitis include a knee that feels warm to the touch and puffiness.

    It should be noted that only one out of every 50 total knee replacement patients suffer a serious complication.

  • 4 Answers
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    The most important exercise to do after knee replacement surgery are range-of-motion exercises. Aim for at least 120 degrees of full extension with active range of motion. After that, you can begin resuming normal strengthening exercises.
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    A Orthopedic Surgery, answered on behalf of
    Can I play sports after a total knee replacement?
    It's recommended to perform low impact sports after a total knee replacement, says Peter Holmes, MD, with Methodist Ambulatory Surgery Hospital. In this video, he talks about the difficulty of repairing a total knee replacement.
  • 1 Answer
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    Some swelling at first is normal after knee replacement surgery. Ongoing swelling around your surgery site, though, can increase your pain and make your joint stiff. To prevent this:
    • Keep your leg elevated when you are sitting.
    • Wear your compression stocking for the number of weeks your doctor has prescribed. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you may leave it off for an hour or so each day.
    • Use an ice pack on the front and back of your knee. Your doctor or therapist will tell you how long to keep using ice packs.
  • 2 Answers
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    The best way to prepare for knee replacement surgery is to remain active, follow a healthy lifestyle and keep excessive weight off. Maintaining good quadriceps strength and performing cardiovascular exercise is extremely important prior to surgery.
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