What Is Knee Replacement?

5 July 2023

Knee replacement is known as a surgical procedure to reshape and treat a damaged knee. This procedure is also called total knee replacement or knee arthroplasty. Using metal and plastic parts, the bone ends of the knee joint are closed together with the kneecap. This surgical intervention is not performed for mild knee injuries or fractures. It is therefore a treatment for severe arthritis. Knee replacement is usually performed on adults, but in some cases, it is also performed on young people. This surgical procedure is determined by age, weight, activity level, knee shape, and health status.

Why Is Knee Replacement Performed?

Knee arthritis is a condition that affects a person’s daily life. In cases where conservative treatment methods do not work and negatively affect the physical health of the person, a surgical procedure called knee replacement is applied. Various types of arthritis negatively affect the function of the knee joint. One of these is osteoarthritis, which is most common in adults and the elderly. This condition, which causes damage to the articular cartilage and knee bone, must be treated. Conservative treatment methods are initially applied for this condition. Therefore, this surgical procedure is used when conservative treatment methods do not work to relieve this condition. The main reasons for performing a knee replacement are the following:

  • When conservative treatment of knee arthritis does not work,
  • When a person has difficulty walking and carrying out daily activities,
  • Osteoarthritis,
  • Traumatic arthritis,
  • Rheumatoid arthritis,
  • Excessive weight gain.

Knee replacement can be a solution to treat a variety of arthritis, which generally damages the joints in the knee bones. This condition can affect many parts of the knee. Therefore, a surgical procedure called knee replacement corrects and reshapes the joints affected by arthritis. In some cases, only a portion of the joint needs to be replaced, whereas in others, the entire joint may need to be replaced. This is also possible with a knee replacement.

Risks Of Knee Replacement

Knee replacement has some risks. Although it is rare for serious complications to develop during the surgery, there are some risks. The risks of knee replacement are briefly as follows:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots in the lungs or veins of the legs
  • Nerve damage
  • Knee stiffness

Serious complications are rare, occurring in less than 2 percent of people who have knee replacement surgery. This means that one or two out of every 100 people who have this surgery may have these risks. Blood clots can be fatal, especially if they occur in the lung. Infection is a risk that can occur immediately after surgery but can also occur years later. Antibiotic medication is usually used for this. In addition, wear and tear of the artificial knees is also a risk factor. As the implants wear and loosen over time, they start to damage the knee. This may require a new treatment to replace the parts.

How To Prepare For Surgery?

There is a preparation process before a knee replacement is performed by an orthopedic surgeon. Before the surgery, the specialist surgeon evaluates the patient’s medical history, knee mobility, and strength. For this, a physical examination is first performed. This is followed by X-rays, blood tests, urine tests, and electrocardiograms. A thorough medical examination is therefore performed before surgery.

Before the operation, the surgeon makes some recommendations about eating and drinking. The patient may also be asked not to eat or drink anything before the operation. Anesthesia is used to make the patient feel comfortable. General anesthesia or epidural anesthesia is usually used for this. The surgeon informs the patient thoroughly before the operation. Thus, the patient learns what to do before the operation and takes precautions accordingly.

Knee Replacement Process

Once the necessary information has been given and the patient is ready, the knee replacement process begins. During surgery, the knee is positioned in a bent position, and the entire surface of the joint is exposed. The knee joint is reached by making incisions at certain centimeter intervals. With the help of artificial joint parts, the knee is placed on the joint surface. After the artificial joint is well positioned on the knee, bending and twisting movements are performed. Knee replacement surgery, which takes about 2 hours, is performed in this way.

It is possible to stay in the hospital for a few days after the operation. It is possible to feel pain as a complication during this process. However, the pain is controlled with medication prescribed by the doctor. During his or her stay, the patient, under the supervision of the doctor, does exercises to move the foot and ankle. These exercises prevent clotting and swelling. Furthermore, compression boots, blood-thinning medication, or support stockings are also helpful postoperative treatment methods.

After discharge from the hospital, the recovery period continues at home. During the recovery period at home, wound care, diet, and exercise should be prioritized. The surgeon will give the patient some instructions during the recovery process at home. The functionality of the knee joint is regained, especially with exercises prepared by physiotherapists. After the recovery period, the person can gradually return to household chores and start walking. Although the recovery period varies from person to person, this period is usually between 3 and 6 weeks.

Knee Replacement Results

Knee replacement is an effective surgical procedure for many patients. It is therefore inevitable to observe some consequences. The most important result of knee replacement treatment is to reduce the pain in the knee and improve the person’s mobility in everyday life. After about a month, the person can return to their daily life. For drivers, this can take between 4 and 6 weeks. However, after the recovery period, the person may not be able to do high-paced sports. Generally, activities such as cycling, walking, and swimming are suitable.

As a result, knee arthritis, which is common in adults and the elderly, is treated surgically if it cannot be cured with conservative treatment methods. This surgical treatment method is called knee replacement and is a highly effective procedure. It is an operation performed when knee arthritis restricts the patient’s daily activities and physical health. There is always the potential for complications with surgical procedures. However, since they are very rare, they usually do not jeopardize the patient’s life. Before the operation, the surgeon will give the patient information that the patient should pay attention to. The operation takes about two hours, and the patient may be hospitalized for a while. After discharge from the hospital, the recovery process continues at home. By following the doctor’s instructions, recovery is achieved within 3-6 weeks. Knee replacement is a recommended surgical procedure, especially in adults and the elderly, as it is an effective method.


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