Know more about knee replacement | why and when it is needed and how it is done
Knee osteoarthritis can lead to the need of knee replacement . Knee osteoarthritis can make your every move difficult ,from walking to climbing stairs , or sitting to even lying down .Knee replacement surgery can bring relief but before that generally doctors advise in trying other treatment first , such as ;
- Oral medication : These include Tylenol as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen , Advil , or Aleve. These are available by advised prescription.
- Application of ointments or creams : Different forms of over the counter ointment or creams can be applied on the affected area . But you can also get stronger version of these medications with a prescription if needed
- Medication through injections : Doctors may also advise for Corticosteroid injections also known as cortisone shots. This helps in fighting the inflammation and the pain .
- Physiotherapy , exercise and diet : The physician can help in designing the therapy to strengthen the muscles and also in relaxing the pain .They may also refer if you need a cane or supportive braces or splints . Regular exercise helps make the muscles stronger that supports your knee . A healthy and balanced diet is required if you need to lose weight to take some pressure off your knees .
- Supplements : NUtritional supplements can also be taken , though some of them also work as non prescription painkillers , but still it is better to ask your doctor before consuming them to check for any kind of side effects .
If these treatment options do not provide enough relief and if the pain becomes intolerant over the time then you may ask your doctor to suggest the surgical measures .
Two types of surgeries mostly recommended for knee are ;
- Arthroscopic surgery
- Knee replacement
Arthroscopic surgery :
It is a surgical procedure which allows the surgeons to view the knee joints without making a big cut or incision through the skin and other soft tissues . This procedure is used to diagnose and treat various types of knee issues and injuries.In this process the surgeon inserts a small camera , called an arthroscope , into the knee joint , by making a very small incision since the surgical instrument is very thin . This results in patients less pain and also takes less recovery time as opposed to the open surgery where larger incision is needed .
Knee replacement :
Knee replacement surgery is a standard procedure. It can give your knees a second chance and a new life , but also as any other surgical procedure there’s always some risks involved. It disrupts daily routine life due to pain and recovery time . That’s why whether to opt for a surgery or not depends on both practical and personal choice of the patient .
Before recommending the knee surgery the surgeon always explain the pros and cons of the procedure, why it’s recommended and what problems may arise if you don’t undergo the surgery .
The knee replacement surgery is mostly recommended when the knee joints are damaged or totally worn out which cause the reduced mobility and increased pain .Most common reasons for knee replacement surgery is Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis .
Not having the surgery in this case can lead to ;
1.Injuries in other joints ,mostly it affects the back and hip joints as you tend to walk awkwardly due to knee pain
2.decline in overall health .
3.sadness and depression because of less or reduced mobility.
4.Increase in difficulty in daily life activities due to being less functional and the constant pain .
5. Reduce the overall quality of life which also affects the mental well being of the patient.
The procedure :
In the procedure the surgeon will make an incision in the knee joint and will remove the torn out and damaged surfaces and resurface that knee joint with the prosthesis. The prosthesis used in the knee replacement process is made of plastic and metal .Cemented prosthesis is used in most of the cases as artificial knee prosthesis .Sometimes, combinations of two types of prosthesis also used in the knee replacement .
In hospital care after the surgery :
Generally the patient stays under observation until their blood pressure , breathing and other vitals are stable .In most cases knee replacement requires a fews of hospital stays after the procedure for better monitoring by the doctors .
Care at home :
Few measures need to be taken, for example ;
- Ensure to keep the surgical area dry and clean
- Follow the bathing instructions given by the doctor
- Apply ice cube to reduce if the area is swollen as per the doctors advice .
- The stitches and surgical staples need to be removed during the follow up visit to the doctor .
- Take pain reliever as recommended by the doctor .
- Notify the doctor if you notice redness or increase in pain in the incision area, high temperature, swelling or bleeding from the incision .
It is very important that you avoid jerky walks or falls , because any fall or jerk can damage and result in severe pain and may as well lead to the damage in the newly replaced joint.