Total Knee Replacement
Total knee surgery or knee arthroplasty is performed to relieve pain and restore function to your knee joint. This surgery is recommended when other approaches to alleviating pain or discomfort have already been explored and prove to be ineffective. A successful surgery and recovery results in:
- Range of Motion
Osteoarthritis is the most common reason to have knee replacement surgery, though there are other causes as well. The pain caused by severe arthritis or a severe knee injury may cause difficulty with daily activities including walking, climbing stairs, and standing up or sitting down.
Before the Procedure
Your doctor will discuss all of the necessary preparations with you prior to your procedure. Make any necessary arrangements to prepare for your recovery. These include:
- Ensuring you have a ride home from the hospital
- Getting help to perform daily tasks like cooking or errands
- Creating a comfortable home environment that is easy to navigate while you recover
- Setting up postoperative outpatient physical therapy appointments
Having everything arranged before your procedure will ensure your recovery proceeds smoothly.
During the Procedure
Anesthesia is administered immediately prior to your surgery. A discussion with your anesthesia team will determine if general or spinal anesthesia is the best route for you. This surgery generally takes 45-90 minutes. After you are placed under anesthesia, an incision is made and the damaged bone and cartilage pieces are removed from your thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap. These damaged areas are resurfaced, and the artificial joint is attached. Your knee will be placed in the optimal alignment to maximize movement and function. Your incision will be closed, and the recovery process will begin.
The Recovery Process
Following the surgical procedure, you will be monitored in the recovery room. When you are alert and your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing become stable you will be discharged or moved to a hospital room where you will stay for a day or two. Some patients will be discharged the day of surgery depending on several factors that will be discussed with your surgeon.
As a natural part of the healing process, you will experience some pain and discomfort. This will be mitigated with pain medication prescribed by your surgeon as short-term pain management. Physical therapy is integral to your recovery and will begin while you are in the hospital. Movement of your foot and ankle increases blood flow as well as helps prevent swelling and blood clots. You will be provided with an exercise plan to perform at home or at a rehab center that gradually increases your activity.
It is very important to follow all care instructions provided to you by your medical team to make a complete recovery. Daily activities can be resumed as your individual progress unfolds; followed by low-impact activities after 6 weeks. Be sure to discuss your return to high-impact activities with your doctor. Total knee replacement should provide benefits that last for more than 15 years.
Some of our providers use less invasive techniques to help reduce pain and provide a more rapid return to function and independent walking. Similarly, Robotic Assisted Knee replacement is performed by some of our surgeons and assists with planning, improving implant placement accuracy and precision for the preparation of the bone. These techniques can be discussed with your provider as well.