Knee replacement is also termed knee arthroplasty or total knee replacement (TKR) surgery. It is a surgical technique to resurface a knee damaged by arthritis. The whole procedure applies the metal and the plastic parts to cap the ends of the bones that form the knee joint and the kneecap. Knee surgery is done when there is severe arthritis or when the person suffers from a severe knee injury.
The surgery of any part of the body is the last step a doctor takes when he finds all the other alternatives useless. However, after total knee replacement surgery, the next big thing is recovery which is often quite challenging. It needs mental and emotional support, which is possible only with the help of friends and family members. The first few days at home are the most difficult for many people.
There are different types of arthritis that may impact the knee joint.
It could be osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cases of traumatic arthritis and ultimately end up in total knee replacement surgery.
In osteoarthritis, the damage generally occurs in your hands, knees, hips, and spine joints. It is a degenerative joint disease that impacts middle-aged and older adults and may compel joint cartilage and adjacent bone breakdown in the knees.
It occurs when our immune system doesn't work correctly and attacks the lining of the joints, called the synovium. This happens due to the pain and joint inflammation and impacts the hands, knees, or ankles. But occasionally, RArheumatoid arthritis causes issues in other body parts, such as the eyes, heart, circulatory system, or lungs. It causes inflammation of the synovial membrane, impacting the synovial fluid and leading to pain and stiffness. Traumatic arthritis is arthritis that occurs due to injury and may cause damage to the cartilage of the joint hit areas.
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There are a number of surgical procedures available for Knee surgery which can be carried out openly or by various incision procedures.
The most common type of knee surgery is meniscus surgery. Individuals with pain and swelling in the knee may suffer from a meniscus tear. The role of the meniscus is to absorb the shock and provide a cushion to the knee with impact. In a meniscectomy, the part of the torn meniscus is removed via arthroscopy. The small incisions are made on the knee to allow a small camera and tool to complete the surgery safely.
Sometimes, a meniscus tear occurs in a portion of the meniscus with a better blood supply. To repair the torn meniscus, The doctor may choose an arthroscopic procedure for such a condition. The method could reduce the risk of future arthritis by not removing a portion of the meniscus.
A meniscus transplant occurs when a person has to remove the meniscus and replace it with a meniscus from a donor. This transplant surgery could be carried out with the help of arthroscopy.
The (ACL) anterior cruciate ligament is a vital ligament of the knee and is responsible for the most common injuries in athletes. It is responsible for the stability of the knee. The patients may complain of being unable to carry the load in the knee when torn. To regain strength, they will have the ligament replaced.
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You are probably tired, in pain, and often emotionally down after knee replacement surgery. Frustration may also creep in as it's difficult for you to do things independently. On such occasions, it's essential to be with your loved ones and adapt to your new role.
Post-surgery, you need to understand things about your safety, recovery, and comfort. The doctor will advise you regarding your nutrition, medications, exercise program, workout level, discharge equipment, follow-up position, and signs and symptoms.
It is crucial to begin moving the new joint after surgery. A physical therapist will meet with you soon after your surgery and plan an exercise program for you. The patient uses a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine to begin the physical therapy. This machine helps move the knee joint through its range of motion while others rest in bed. The pain will be managed with medication so that you can exercise properly. Moreover, you also need to follow an exercise plan in the hospital and after discharge care procedures.
After knee replacement surgery, you are made to stay back at the hospital for a few days, and, depending upon your recovery, you are discharged from the hospital. Generally, the discharge takes around 2 to 4 days but the care begins right after you are done with your surgery.
You are first taken to your private room, where a physical therapist assists you in standing up and walking using an assistive device. The assistive devices may include walkers, crutches, and canes. The nurses will teach you how to get in and out of bed and move around. Moreover, you are told to sit at the side of the bed and start walking a few steps.
On the second day, after knee replacement surgery is done, you will be told to try walking for some extra minutes compared to day 1 with the help of an assistive device. With recovery, your activity level will increase slowly. If waterproof dressing is done, you can also try for a shower on day two after knee replacement surgery, and those with regular dressing need to wait for 5 to 7 days before showering.
About three weeks after knee replacement, you should be capable of walking for more than 10 minutes without assistance. Your physiotherapist may suggest you go on longer walks if your progress is good.
In the 4th to 6th week, there should be notable progress in the knee area, and you should keep undergoing regular physiotherapy. The doctor may allow you to start driving if your recovery is going fine.
It would be best if you continued with your physiotherapy and rehabilitation without absence. From week 7 to week 11, you work on strengthening the leg muscles that reinforce the knee joint.
You would be able to return to your daily activities but should avoid high-impact sports and exercise, including aerobics, running, basketball, hiking, trekking, mountain climbing, etc.
You will need to continue physiotherapy and other activities one year after your knee replacement surgery. By this time, your knee should reach its full mobility and strength, and you should be able to return to almost all activities.
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