Quality of life after Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Ageing has various effects on the body. One of the most important areas that the ageing process affects, is bone strength. With advancing age bone strength tends to decrease and joints lose their mobility.
Knee joints are one of the most affected joints of the body which affects almost every ageing person. Knee pain due to osteoarthritis is an extremely disturbing condition that people go through. It affects the daily lives of the affected individuals significantly.
When all medical remedies have stopped bringing you relief, knee pain can be so pronounced that you might be unable to manage daily activities, and there could be swelling and even bowing of the knee.
In such a case, it is recommended to see a doctor who may advise knee replacement surgery as the best solution to improve your quality of life.
Your orthopaedic surgeon will make you go through diagnostic scans to ascertain if your knee joint is deformed or damaged in addition to a physical exam before deciding on knee replacement surgery.
Knee Replacement Surgery FAQs
Surgery is not the only solution to treat knee pain. Only about 20% of patients need knee replacement surgery, whereas 80% of patients don’t.
Increasing the amount of calcium, vitamin D and other essential nutrients in your diet also helps in maintaining bone health.
Surgery may be required only in case of chronic conditions such as constant problems in walking, unbearable pain, having to take pain relief medicines daily and difficulty in doing day-to-day activities.
What happens in a total knee replacement?
In a knee replacement surgery, the damaged cartilage and the bony tissues are removed from the knee cap and replaced with high-grade plastic or metal alloys that act as the joint.
The procedure is intended to relieve pain and restore the normal functioning of the joint. The replaced knee performs almost as good as the previous normal ones, but the patient might take some time to adjust to the new knee.
How long does it take to recover from knee replacement surgery?
A proper rehabilitation process is important so that you adjust to the knee joint and return to an active life. It not only helps in the long term but also helps you recover from the surgery quickly and properly.
With advancements in medical technology, within a day of your surgery, your orthopaedic specialist will make you stand, walk with assisted equipment like crutches, canes or walkers.
Your physiotherapist plays a very key role in the recovery and rehabilitation process. The endeavour is to use the new joint as much as possible and so will build out an exercise regime for you to strengthen your muscles.
Within 2-3 days of the surgery, your orthopaedic and physiotherapist will make you walk short distances, climb 2-3 steps, bend the knee to a certain angle and undertake daily activities like taking bath and using the toilet with minimal assistance.
In most cases, patients may take up to 6-8 weeks to perform most of the activities as normally as they used to with a normal knee joint.
Complete recovery and regaining of full strength might take from six months to a year. 90% of people who undergo a total knee replacement report to have a better quality of life.
Stay active for a faster recovery
Usually, if everything goes well, a patient is expected to stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days following a total knee replacement surgery.
The doctor encourages movement from the next postoperative day itself with the help of some support. The patient should be able to walk without any support within two to three weeks of the surgery.
The patients will be able to perform activities which they were not able to do earlier, within a year’s time.
Adhering to an active lifestyle and exercising regularly will be helpful in regaining the strength of the joint quickly.
Set realistic goals
Though very close to the normal knee, the artificial knee does have certain limitations. It would not bend as much as the normal knee.
Also, one might find it difficult to perform activities like kneeling, jumping, running and heavy laborious work. Getting involved in contact sports might not be advisable.
It is important to talk to the orthopaedic surgeon before going for it.
There are risks of the artificial joint being broken and damaging surrounding tissues to a great extent! Feeling some sort of achiness or pain is common when initiating activities.
Some patients complain of cramps and stiffness after prolonged walking or bicycle riding. Few patients even experience a feeling of heat around the knees, they can apply an ice pack or take simple over-the-counter pain medications for relief.
Keep your weight under check
It is extremely important to maintain a healthy weight. An increase in weight can cause sooner wear and tear of the joint, it may even cause the artificial joint to break under undue pressure.
As the knees bear the complete weight of the body, it is important to maintain a healthy weight so that the knees are subjected to lesser stress.
Risk of infection
Patients who undergo a knee replacement are at a higher than normal risk of infection as with any other surgery. A surgical procedure carries the risk of infection along with it.
The patient might be advised to take antibiotics before any invasive or even a dental procedure. Microbes gaining access to body fluids can flourish more easily and can cause infections.
It is thus recommended to take antibiotics before undergoing any procedure which has chances of exposure to microbes.
Knee Replacement Surgery success rate
The success rate is usually very high. There are 90-95% chances of a replaced knee joint to last for about 10 years. And as high as 80-85% chances of the joint to last for 20 years.
With betterment in technology and advancements in surgical techniques, the likelihood of this time span to increase is high.
A patient who is beyond the age of 60 years at the time of surgery and takes proper care of the replaced knee is most likely to live the rest of living comfortably with an artificial knee.
Monitoring of the overall health and condition of the replaced knee is important to ensure the proper functioning of the joint.
Total knee replacement surgeries are usually very successful among people over the age of 60 years. People are very likely to return to their almost normal functioning joint following a replacement within a year.
They can perform most of the activities that they used to with a relatively high level of ease and comfort.
Proper exercising, staying active, managing a healthy weight and regular health checks are however extremely important.
The chances of damage are inevitable if not taken care of properly. Patients might require pain medications on and off and might need to take antibiotics when undergoing any invasive procedure.
However, the benefits and the quality of life that a patient gets after a knee replacement are worth these minor adjustments and cautiousness.
If continuous pain has pushed your daily walking to a back seat, it is time for you to visit an expert. Book an appointment today with Dr Debashish Chanda, an expert orthopaedic doctor in Gurgaon.