Discover how taking the proper recovery steps assist in you your healing, and get you back on your feet.
When non-surgical treatments for your knee arthritis or injury haven’t produced the results you were hoping for your doctor might suggest knee replacement surgery. Depending on the severity of your injury or arthritis your surgeon might suggest one of these knee replacement options.
Total Knee Replacement
A total knee replacement are for those who have extensive damage from arthritis or have suffered a severe knee injury. When patients can’t perform simple everyday tasks a total knee replacement may be an effective solution.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons state that about 90% of patients who receive a total knee replacement notice a significant improvement in their mobility, and a substantial decrease in pain.
What Happens During Surgery
Once you’re under general anesthesia, your doctor may perform these steps for your knee replacement:
- Removal of the damaged cartilage, femur, tibia, and some underlying bone.
- Placement of metal or plastic artificial joint that will replace the damaged bone and cartilage.
- Depending on each case, your knee cap (patella) will be cut and resurfaced with a plastic button.
- A plastic spacer is then inserted between the artificial joint to provide a smooth surface mimicking a health knee joint.
Knee replacement recovery time is crucial to your healing, and getting you back on your feet. It’s important to follow these steps after your surgery.
- Wound care – Be sure to keep your incisions site dry and clean. Changing bandages as needed. You’ll unlikely be unable to bathe or shower until your stitches are removed.
- Activity – Within 3-6 weeks you should be able to perform your normal daily activities – standing, walking, climbing stairs. Physical therapy is another way you’ll be able to gain mobility and retain your muscle tone. Don’t overdo it!
- Swelling – You’ll experience mild to moderate swelling 3-6 months after your surgery. You may experience some swelling after your physical therapy sessions.
- Medications – Be sure to take all medications prescribed by your doctor. These medications may include: narcotics, stool softeners, and blood thinners.
Unicompartmental Knee Replacement
Unlike a total knee replacement, a unicompartmental replacement is for patients where the arthritis or injury has damaged only one portion of the knee. The damaged portion of the knee is resurfaced and replaced with metal components. A plastic insert is then placed between the two metal components to give the knee mobility.
A partial knee replacement requires less recovery time, but it’s important you follow the instructions given to you by your orthopedic surgeon.