Knee replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which a damaged or arthritic knee joint is replaced with an artificial joint or prosthesis. This procedure is typically performed to relieve pain and improve the function of the knee when conservative treatments like medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications have failed to provide adequate relief.
Here are some key points about knee replacement:
- Indications: Knee replacement is commonly recommended for individuals who have severe osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, or other conditions that cause chronic knee pain and limited mobility.
- Types of Knee Replacement: a. Total Knee Replacement (TKR): In a TKR, the entire knee joint is replaced with a prosthesis, including the femur, tibia, and often the patella (kneecap). b. Partial Knee Replacement: In this procedure, only a portion of the knee joint is replaced. It’s suitable for patients with damage in just one compartment of the knee. c. Revision Knee Replacement: This is a more complex procedure used when a previous knee replacement has failed, and the prosthetic joint needs to be replaced or revised.
- Surgical Procedure: During knee replacement surgery, the surgeon removes damaged bone and cartilage from the knee joint and replaces it with an artificial joint made of metal, plastic, or a combination of both materials. The procedure can be performed using traditional open surgery or minimally invasive techniques.
- Recovery: After surgery, patients typically go through a period of rehabilitation and physical therapy to regain strength and mobility. Full recovery can take several months, and it’s essential to follow the post-operative care instructions provided by the healthcare team.
- Risks and Complications: While knee replacement surgery is generally safe and effective, there are potential risks and complications, including infection, blood clots, prosthetic failure, and ongoing pain.
- Benefits: Knee replacement surgery can significantly reduce pain and improve the quality of life for individuals with severe knee joint problems. It can also restore mobility and allow patients to return to their regular activities.
- Longevity of the Prosthesis: The lifespan of a knee replacement prosthesis can vary, but it often lasts for 15 to 20 years or more. The longevity depends on various factors, including the patient’s activity level, overall health, and the type of prosthesis used.
It’s important to note that knee replacement is a major surgical procedure, and not everyone is a suitable candidate. The decision to undergo knee replacement should be made in consultation with a qualified orthopedic surgeon who can evaluate your condition and discuss the potential benefits and risks.