Knee replacement surgery 101: What you need to know

Knee replacement surgery 101: What you need to know

Knee replacement surgery is a common solution for people who have tried other options to address their pain without success. It is the most common type of joint replacement procedure with more than 500,000 performed each year.

What is Knee Replacement Surgery?

During knee replacement surgery, the knee joint is removed and artificial material is used in its place. Today’s advances in both materials and techniques mean that this surgery is usually a simple one-hour outpatient procedure for most people. However, in many cases, you’ll still need to stay overnight in a medical facility for observational purposes.

Who is a Good Candidate?

People over the age of 50 often have osteoarthritis which is caused by wear and tear on the knee joint. Over time, the smooth cartilage in your knee is worn away and the bone is exposed. Knee replacement surgery is often recommended if you have tried other treatment options but they haven’t been successful.

What Treatments are Tried Before Surgery?

Surgery is not typically the first choice of treatment for people who have knee pain. Your orthopedic surgeon might recommend cortisone injections, physical therapy, knee pain exercises and other non-surgical methods of relieving your pain.

What to Expect From Knee Replacement Surgery

Prior to knee replacement surgery, you’ll likely need to be cleared by your primary care physician (PCP). You’ll probably need to have bloodwork completed shortly before your surgery is scheduled.

Unless there are medical concerns, it’s likely that your knee replacement surgery will occur in a one-hour procedure on an outpatient basis. In some cases, you might need to spend the night so that you can be in observation.

Your orthopedic surgeon will take an image of your knee using a CT scan. This will facilitate the design of a replacement for you. In some cases, custom fabricated material will need to be used.

After Your Knee Replacement Surgery

Prior to being released to go home, you’ll be encouraged to use your new knee. Much of your recovery will take place at home with frequent physical therapy sessions.

After two or three weeks, you’ll be transitioned to physical therapy at a licensed outpatient facility. By about three months, your new knee will be functioning almost flawlessly. After about one year, you should be able to enjoy your life without any knee pain.

When you experience knee pain, it’s a good idea to start your care with the professional who specializes in bones: an orthopedic surgeon. Today’s orthopedic surgeons offer a range of services that are designed to help you stay mobile, active and free of pain.

At Huntington Orthopedic Institute, our experienced and compassionate team is focused on making your life better. Contact us today for more information about knee pain and solutions like knee replacement surgery, physical therapy and more.

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