The FAQs of Total Knee Replacement 

By St Helena Sports Medicine
March 15, 2017

Healthy knees are crucial for enjoying an active lifestyle. So if an injury or arthritis of the knee occurs, your movement in the knees can become restricted because of damage, inflammation, and pain. And when the pain worsens, it impacts your quality of life. That’s when it may be time to consider knee replacement surgery. This procedure uses a mechanical implant to replace severely arthritic or damaged knee joints. Considered one of the safest procedures in orthopedics, total knee replacement can help you get back your quality of life. If you’re thinking about knee replacement surgery, here are answers to some common questions:

When should I consider knee replacement?
If you find it increasingly difficult to get up to do simple tasks or walk to your car, you may want to think about knee replacement surgery. Schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for an assessment to determine if you should have a knee replacement.

What is involved in knee replacement surgery?
During surgery, the doctor will make an incision on top of your knee to allow access to the damaged area of your joint. The knee cap is moved aside, and damaged bone and cartilage are removed. It is replaced with metal and plastic parts that combine to form a makeshift joint that works the same as your natural knee. The entire surgery typically lasts a couple of hours.

How painful is knee replacement surgery?
While you will have pain after knee replacement, it should diminish within no more than a week. You will be given medication to manage your pain. Once you’ve recovered from knee replacement surgery, you will notice less pain in your knee which can only be lessened through dedicated physical therapy and lifestyle modifications.

What happens immediately after surgery?
Your knee will be bandaged, and a drain will be in place to remove fluid from the joint. You will be given antibiotics intravenously and will receive blood-thinning medication to reduce the risk of blood clots. It’s typical for patients to be up and walking within a couple of days with the help of a walker or crutches. Once you are back home, you will need to undergo regular therapy to improve knee mobility and functionality.

How long will my new knee joint last?
Research shows that as much as 85 percent of patients still have a functioning synthetic joint 20 years after surgery. But wear and tear has a lot to do with how long your knee joint will last, which means younger patients may be more likely to have another procedure in their lifetime.

Do you want to learn more knee replacement surgery? Contact Napa Vacaville Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics.

For more information about muscle and joint health, contact us today.  You can reach us directly at 707.258.2547 in Napa or 707.446.6206 in Vacaville.  We look forward to meeting you!



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