Knee pain can be due to an injury or stem from medical problems such as osteoarthritis. Most of the time, knee pain improves with conservative treatments such as medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy. However, if you have chronic pain that doesn’t improve with non-invasive or less invasive treatments, your doctor may recommend Chevy Chase knee replacement to alleviate the pain and improve your quality of life. Below is more information about knee replacement surgery.
What is knee replacement surgery?
Knee replacement surgery or arthroplasty is a procedure that can help alleviate pain and restore the function of severely damaged or diseased knee joints. The surgery involves replacing damaged bone and cartilage with a prosthesis made of high-grade plastics, metal alloys, or polymers. Your orthopedic surgeon may first determine if the procedure is proper for you by assessing your knee’s strength, stability, and motion. Your doctor’s surgical technique depends on your activity level, weight, age, knee size and shape, and overall health.
How to prepare for knee replacement surgery
You first need to have an initial consultation with your surgeon to understand what the procedure entails, including the risks. Although the procedure may reduce pain and restore your knee function, knee replacement carries various dangers like any other surgery. For example, an infection may develop at the surgical sites, and surrounding structures such as the nerves can get damaged during the procedure. Other risks include blood clot formation in the leg vein or lungs, stroke, and heart attack.
There is also the risk of artificial joint failure; even the strongest metals and plastic parts wear. The risk of joint failure is higher if you stress the joint or are overweight. Your doctor may ask you to stop taking blood-thinning medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, to reduce the risk of excessive bleeding during surgery. You are also not to eat anything past midnight the night of your surgery.
You also want to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and help you with everyday tasks such as cooking and doing laundry. It is essential to arrange for all these before surgery to avoid hardships during recovery. You can make the following adjustments to ensure it is safe and easy to navigate during recovery.
- Install stairways handrails
- Have all your necessary items on one floor; climbing stairs can be difficult, and you should not strain your knee after surgery.
- Secure handrails in your shower or bath
- Get a footstool to elevate your leg and a stable chair with a firm cushion and back support.
- Get rid of loose rugs and cords
- Get a chair for your shower
What to expect after surgery
You may require a downtime period of between three to six weeks, after which you can resume most daily activities. For example, some people can do light housekeeping or drive for around three weeks. However, to drive, you should be able to bend your knee and have enough muscle control to operate the brakes and accelerator. Most people experience pain relief, improved function, and better quality of life after knee replacement.
Consult your healthcare provider at Gautam Siram, MD, to establish whether you are eligible for knee replacement surgery.