“Going under the knife never feels good unless it’s a face-lift.”
Joint Replacement surgery is a major surgery and it takes a strong heart to decide that you will undergo this surgery which will change your joints and life forever (for good though). In this article, we will be telling you, what is the surgical procedure of joint replacement, it’s pros and cons and what you will be able to do and can’t do after the surgery.
In short ‘What to Expect’ from your knee joint replacement surgery! So let’s get started!
Knee Joint at a Glance
Just to give you a quick idea of the anatomy of knee joint so that you can understand the whole surgical process better. Knee joint consist of
- Femur (Upper/thigh bone)
- Tibia (Lower/leg bone)
- There is a sponge-like structure in between the two bones known as, Meniscus. It acts as shock absorber and ensures smooth movement of the knee joint.
- The kneecap known as Patella covers the two bones in the front thus giving efficient joint movement.
- The ligaments and muscles surround the joint and hold it well in place and help in giving you the best experience in walking, running, stair climbing and an endless number of activities like playing football with your kids.
Why does one need a joint replacement?
There is not a single reason why your orthopedic surgeon asks you to go for a joint replacement. Some of them are listed below:
- Due to extensive arthritis in your knees, the bone ends have been eroded and thus creating friction while moving. This results in the inability to walk or pain while walking.
- The deadly infections of your bones have damaged the joint thus needing a replacement.
- Sports injuries have deranged the knee joint to a large extent thus demanding a replacement. ( Joint replacement is considered as the last option in young adults).
- Aging has made your joints fragile and is unable to bear your body weight.
The reasons are many, but we have listed just the most common ones.
What happens during Knee Replacement Surgery?
- You will be given anesthesia as well as some sedatives.
- The incision is made on the knee, the bones are exposed (Don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing.)
- The bones are not removed in the surgery as is it believed by the layman worldwide.
- The bone is just shaved off to create smoother edges so that the covers (the titanium-based joints) can be fitted snugly.
- After smoothing the edges, the femur end and the tibial end are covered with the titanium caps.
- To make the gliding smoother between the two, the foam like sponges are also replaced. These are known as menisci and are not replaced in every case.
- A cap can also be provided under the knee-cap (patella) if required.
- The smooth movement is ensured by moving the knee joint in all planes possible.
- The incision is closed and the bandage is applied and you will be sent to the recovery room.
What should I expect after Knee Replacement Surgery?
- You will get a good sterile room, less number of visitors, good food and lots of physiotherapies afterward.
- The best part is that you will be able to stand-up with your walker support the very next day of your surgery (the protocol of every orthopedic surgeon may vary).
- You will need to do your exercise regularly and religiously. YOU CAN NOT LAZE AROUND WITH YOUR EXERCISES!
- After about 2 weeks to 2 months, you will be able to walk independently, a little jogging (depending on the age, implant and your orthopedic’s directions), climb stairs etc.
- These whole set of activities will be painless! Hooray…..Who thought it would ever be!
Yeah, a good, functional, painless knee joint replacement outcome is most likely to happen.
If you don’t pay heed to you do’s and don’ts and if your stars are not even visible in your destiny’s sky, (which we pray that it should never be the case) then:
- A knee joint implant can simply fail.
- Infection of the bone can set in.
- You stop exercising and give your physio a hard-time moving your knee, then you will end up with a stiff knee (like it was before surgery).
We are telling you all this, not to dishearten you but to warn you. You can follow the steps here in order to have an uneventful and successful recovery:
- Exercising and following instructions are very important.
- Invite fewer visitors to see you in the hospital and home. As they carry more infections than you can even think about! (you never know if that cousin of yours has never washed his hands since eternity or the outside burger that you are craving has more bacteria than your toilet seat). We have grossed you out enough now, so now you have understood well, what not to do!
While concluding, all we can say that, “If you are enthusiastic enough and have a good positive will to be independent again, then go for it!”
But if you are a lazy bum who just hates to get out of bed and going for this surgery because of some kind of peer pressure then please drop the idea! Be willing to get well and you will be having a new set of knees, which will make you walk painlessly throughout the rest of your life. You are always welcome to ask queries and share your experiences about knee replacement.
“ Knee Replacement is not like getting small robots in your knees, You still need to teach your joints to get going.”
Note: The remedies or exercises provided in this article are not a replacement for a medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional before following the solutions.