A patient’s guide to total Joint replacement


A patient’s guide to total Joint replacement

Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure which involves the replacing an injured or ailing knee with an artificial joint or with a prosthesis. The prosthesis is made of metal alloys, plastics, and polymers that mimic the function of a knee. Thus the replacement of the knees can help to meet the specific needs of individual candidates. The doctor usually selects the prosthetic knee on the basis of Age, Weight, activity level and also the overall health of the candidates. The procedure involves the removal of the old knee and replaces it with a prosthesis that usually takes less than two hours but the recovery period may take up to few months or even more. This surgical procedure is also popular as Knee Arthroplasty and is one of the most common orthopedic procedure that takes more than 600,00 knee replacements in every year around the world.

The knees are often found damaged due to arthritis, osteoarthritis and even rheumatoid arthritis. So under such circumstances, people may choose to undergo a complete joint replacement under the doctor’s specific recommendation. Well, the knee replacement is considered as the last possible resort when all the treatment options like weight loss, medications, physical therapy, and assistive devices have failed to treat the specific condition.

Who is considered as a good candidate for the procedure?

There are certain key factors that determine if the patients is a good candidate-

  • The amount of activity the knees pain interferes with daily activity such a walking or climbing stairs.
  • Any deformed knee has bows or blows out regularly.
  • The age of the candidates.
  • Finally the overall health of the candidates.

Therefore a knee surgery is atypical treatment procedure that is targeted for people who are over the age of 55. Younger people who have undergone a knee replacement surgery may require outliving their artificial knees and may also need to undergo a revision surgery. However, the surgeons usually evaluate the condition of each patient before undergoing the total joint replacement surgery.

Preparing for the knee joint replacement surgery

Before undergoing the surgical procedure, the doctor usually assess the overall health and anesthesia risks and also evaluates the condition of the patient by following a complete-

  • Medical history
  • A physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • X-rays
  • And other imaging tests.

The surgeon will also review a complete medical history including any prior surgical procedures and the current health condition of the patients while undergoing the procedure. The surgeons provide some pre-op instructions like stopping some medicines and nutritional supplements before undergoing the surgery to avoid complications. Preparing for undergoing the procedure also includes eating right and exercising to maintain a healthy physique. A perfect planning can help the patients to experience a safe and smooth recovery period.

Surgical procedure

The surgeons usually perform this procedure in a hospital on an outpatient basis. During this surgery, the damaged cartilage and bone are usually removed from the joint and then replaced with a prosthetic component that is made of metal, plastic or ceramic. The prosthesis mimics usually shape up and move the natural joint. However, for a total knee replacement procedure, the surgeon first makes a long incision above the knee and then pulls back the skin and the muscles that can cut away the damaged cartilage and the bone. Then a new knee joint is then fixed with the femur bone or on the thighbone and the tibia which is the main bone of the lower leg. All of it is then held tightly with a special cement, pins, and screws. This surgery takes about one to two hours to complete. At the end of the procedure, the surgeon first closes the incisions with sutures and finally covers it with a bandage.

What to expect after undergoing a knee joint replacement surgery

After undergoing a surgical procedure, the patients may experience some stiffness in the leg. The post-op instructions include certain medications on time to reduce the pain and also to present blood from clotting. However, most of the people undergo a physical therapy from the day or a day after undergoing the procedure. This therapy helps in promoting the blood flow to the tissues around the knees which helps in achieving a rapid recovery period.

The complications related to this procedure may include an artificial knee wearing out over time, bleeding, the formation of blood clots in the legs or lungs, a heart attack, knee stiffness and a nerve damage or even stroke. But these are rare complications and most of them can be avoided by following the instructions provided by the surgeon.

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