5 Questions You May Have About Knee Replacement Surgery

Posted on: 17 November 2021

If your knee joint is severely injured or worn, a knee replacement may be necessary. Knee replacement surgery is a common procedure that can replace an affected knee with an artificial joint to restore knee functioning and eliminate pains and other problems that often occur with a bad knee. Here are five questions that you may have about knee replacement surgery and some answers that will help you learn more about what this procedure involves.

How is knee replacement surgery done?

If your doctor determines that you're a good candidate for this procedure, your surgery will be performed at a hospital or surgical center while you're placed under general anesthesia to induce sleep throughout the procedure. Incisions, which may be minimally invasive thanks to advancements in surgical techniques, will be made to access the knee joint bones and remove any damaged parts of the knee. Once these damaged surfaces are removed, a prosthesis, or artificial knee, will be inserted to make your knee functional again. The surgical incisions will then be closed and sutured for healing. 

What prosthesis options are available?

You'll likely receive a cemented prosthesis, which is comprised of plastic and metal and attaches to the knee joint bones with surgical cement. An uncemented prosthesis is not used regularly anymore, but your surgeon may recommend this option if you'll experience better results by having the prosthesis attached to a bone with a porous surface that will eventually grow around the implant. You might even get both prosthesis types if your doctor believes that this option will restore your knee's function the best.

How long is the recovery time?

Your total recovery time may be as short as six weeks or as long as three months or more. The exact amount of time that the recovery period will take before you are fully healed and can resume all your normal activities will depend on how well you heal and whether or not you experience any complications from surgery. Your recovery period can be much easier if you follow doctor's orders.

What should I do to prepare for surgery?

Before your procedure, your doctor may recommend exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee more to help reduce tightness and promote better healing from surgery. On the day of your surgery, you should wear clothes that fit loosely and comfortably and will be easy to change back into following your procedure. Special arrangements may need to be made at your home and workplace to accommodate you better while you heal from surgery and have limited use of your knee during the recovery period.

How long does a knee replacement prosthesis last?

Your prosthesis may last 20 years or more before it needs a replacement. Several factors, such as your age, fitness level, and body weight, can affect how long your prosthesis will last. If the prosthesis is causing infections or giving you other problems, you'll probably need to have it replaced sooner.

Knee replacement surgery can help you function better physically and may be your best solution to a chronic knee problem. A doctor can explain more about what a knee replacement involves and answer all your other questions so that you'll feel more confident about getting your surgery.