Living with knee pain and mobility issues is possible, but it can become physically and emotionally overwhelming. From dealing with discomfort that requires prescription medication to losing the ability to complete simple, everyday tasks, it is easy to see why medical intervention is necessary if you have knee problems.
Even though more than 600,000 knee replacements are performed in the United States each year, most people do not understand these surgical procedures. If you are dealing with arthritis or an injury to the knee, a replacement procedure may be right for you.
Here are a few questions to ask your surgeon to help you understand knee replacements in more detail.
What Procedure Is Best Suited to My Needs?
When it comes to knee replacements, you have a few options to consider. Each has its own pros and cons, so you will need to weigh all options with your doctor.
The type of procedure that will be recommended will be based mostly on the severity of knee damage. If all components of the knee, including the interior, exterior, and frontal compartments, of the knee are damaged by arthritis or an injury, a total knee replacement will be recommended.
If X-rays determine only one or two components are affected, a partial replacement will be best suited to your needs.
Are the Surgeries a Permanent Solution?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks. Complications may arise during and after surgery that decrease the success of your surgery. However, most replacement surgeries are effective for long-term pain relief and improved mobility.
Of course, constant stress and contact to the knee may increase your risk of future surgeries. If you are an athlete or are constantly bending and moving your knee for work, your reconstructed knee joint may become inflamed, irritated, and damaged.
Is Recovery Difficult?
Your recovery is another issue you should address with your surgeon before the knee replacement. Unfortunately, most patients are surprised to hear how challenging recovery can be.
The total amount of time you will require for a complete recovery depends on your health and the type of surgery used. Obviously, a total knee replacement will require a longer period of recovery compared to a partial replacement.
The amount of time you will spend in recovery depends on a few factors including your overall health, the severity of damage to your knee, and the type of surgery. Most people require six to eight weeks of recovery before resuming normal activities after a partial knee replacement.
You may be asked to walk immediately after your surgery. This movement allows your surgeon to determine how well the reconstructed knee works after the surgical procedure. Each day, you will walk with and without an assistive device and the help of a physical therapist.
Once you are home from the hospital, you should consider physical therapy. Light exercises, with the help of a physical therapist, are also beneficial. Opt for low-impact exercises, such as walking and swimming.
Each day, you should increase the time and distance you are able to walk.
Understand that you may experience light pain and discomfort during your recovery. Your doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to ease this pain and reduce swelling, which will help you through recovery.
Proper care of your incisions is imperative, as well. Changing bandages regularly, cleaning the area around the incision, and applying antibacterial ointment to the wound will reduce the risk of infections after the surgery.
Again, living with pain and immobility of the knees is possible, but you do not have to suffer. To learn more about treating injuries or arthritis, contact Orthopaedic & Sports Specialists PC.