Alternatives to Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty) involves replacing a damaged, worn or diseased knee with an artificial joint.
Knee replacement surgery involves replacing some or all of the components of the knee joint with a synthetic implant, to repair the damaged weight-bearing surfaces that are causing pain. A total knee replacement surgery replaces all three compartments of the diseased knee joint. A partial knee replacement surgery involves an implant in just one or two compartments of the knee, retaining any undamaged parts. While there are non-surgical and surgical interventions short of knee replacement which will often provide temporary relief, the long-term resolution to most knee degeneration will be joint replacement.
What is knee Replacement Surgery?
Knee replacement, also called arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to resurface a knee damaged by arthritis. Metal and plastic parts are used to cap the ends of the bones that form the knee joint, along with the kneecap. This surgery may be considered for someone who has severe arthritis or a severe knee injury.Various types of arthritis may affect the knee joint. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that affects mostly middle-aged and older adults, may cause the breakdown of joint cartilage and adjacent bone in the knees. Rheumatoid arthritis, which causes inflammation of the synovial membrane and results in excessive synovial fluid, can lead to pain and stiffness. Traumatic arthritis, arthritis due to injury, may cause damage to the cartilage of the knee. The goal of knee replacement surgery is to resurface the parts of the knee joint that have been damaged and to relieve knee pain that cannot be controlled by other treatments.
Partial Knee Replacement Surgery
When a person has a partial knee replacement surgery, the doctor only resurfaces one or two compartments of the knee. The surgeon spares as much of the healthy tissue and bone as possible, and this may help retain range of motion, encourage more natural function and decrease healing time. However, the other parts of the knee may become arthritic at a later date, and another surgery to resurface those portions of the knee might be required.
Recovering from Surgery
After the procedure, the patient can expect to be given antibiotics for about a day after surgery and medication (anticoagulants) to control pain and prevent blood clots. A drain to stop fluid from building up around the knee may be inserted. Some people may have a urinary catheter to minimize the need to stand after the procedure. To help retain flexibility and range of motion, some surgeons will recommend a continuous passive motion machine (CPM) that will slowly bend and straighten the knee joint while keeping it supported.
Complications Following Surgery
knee replacement surgery can have complications. Complications are more likely to occur when having a total knee replacement than a partial knee replacement surgery. Some of these complications occur because of the surgery itself. Others occur because of a faulty implant. If the person has chronic illnesses, the risk of complications increases. For example, a person with sleep apnea a sleep disorder that causes a person to have pauses in breathing while asleep has a higher in-hospital mortality risk following joint replacement surgery. If the person has revision surgery, the risk of complications rises.
Following knee replacement surgery, a second surgery might be required to adjust or replace the implant if it fails. This corrective surgery is called revision surgery. In 2010, there were 67,100 knee revisions performed in the United States. Revision surgery is more complicated and difficult to perform than original (primary) surgery and usually takes about three hours. This procedure also takes more planning, and special implants and tools are required. The implants used in revision surgery have thicker, longer stems to provide more stability and compensate for weaker ligaments and increased bone loss.