Knee Replacement Surgery: What to Expect
Knee replacement surgery is surgery that is most commonly done to treat a patient with a knee that has been damaged by arthritis, injury, or a combination thereof. Because it involves a recovery period, doctors generally recommend it only as a last resort after more conservative treatments have failed.
What Happens During Knee Replacement Surgery?
The knee is the biggest joint in the body, and it consists of the patella (kneecap) plus the ends of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (leg bone). Soft tissues like cartilage keep the knee moving smoothly and easily. When those tissues are damaged, the knee stops working as well. The patient can also develop bone spurs that further impair the knee’s function.
In a knee replacement surgery or arthroplasty, the doctor wants to restore the ease of movement by resurfacing the damaged parts of the knee. A typical procedure will typically include the following steps:
- Remove the damaged cartilage and ends of the femur and tibia
- Replace the ends of the tibia and femur with metal implants
- Replace the underside of the patella with a plastic shield
- Put a medical-grade plastic spacer between the femur and tibia
The third step, resurfacing the patella, is optional; not all patients need it. The doctor will, of course, will make sure to customize the procedure based on the patient’s needs.
The medical team will want to monitor the patient’s recovery to watch for complications. The patient will also need medications to control discomfort. The patient will also need to start physical therapy to exercise their knee and regain mobility. Similarly, they will need to wear compression garments to reduce any issues.
Contact Us Today