Knee arthroplasty (also known as knee replacement) is the replacement of a joint with an artificial implant. It is performed in the case of knee joint dysfunction to relieve chronic pain and disability.
Lifestyle modifications can help one fight arthritis pain, but knee replacement via surgery is sometimes the only way to restore a person’s ability to move and improve physical condition.
How Safe Is Knee Replacement Surgery?
In patients with severe deformity, trauma or long-standing osteoarthritis, the surgery may be more complicated and carry higher risk. However, severe complications (such as an infection or knee implant rejection) are rare. They occur in fewer than 2 percent of cases.
Some patients also confuse implant rejection with infection, but both are different complications. Implant rejection can occur when a metal implant triggers a reaction in the patients body for cases with metal hypersensitivity. Again, there is no need to be afraid of implants as long as they are made of reliable and inert materials.
An artificial implant repeats the shape of a healthy joint to help your leg work like before.
How To Find The Right Specialist & Treatment Options?
If one looks at the statistics of the number of successful knee replacement surgeries around the world, Knee replacement in Turkey is popular option for health tourism.
Sites like Booking Health help assist patients in choosing the right specialist, treatment options, traveling abroad and translating medical reports.
When Should You Go For Knee Replacement Surgery and When Not?
Endoprosthetics (process of implantation) is performed when the pain in the knee and disturbance of motor function become severe. Endoprosthetics can be performed at any age. Most often patients are elderly people over 60-80 years old.
Nevertheless, indications for the operation can be determined only by a doctor.
The most common medical indications for knee replacement surgery include:
- Inflammation, swelling, and deformity of a knee joint
- Knee joint flexure and extension disorders
- Severe pain during sleep,
- Arthrosis of the third and fourth degree,
- Necrotic process in bone.
Contraindications for knee replacement surgery are:
- Presence of infection in the body
- Purulent join inflammation
- Recent heart attacks or strokes
- Decompensated diabetes mellitus
- Renal failure
- Bleeding disorders
- Muscle or tendon atrophy
- Mental disorders
As with any type of general surgery, knee replacement surgery requires careful preliminary examination. Usually, the preparation begins a month before the planned operation. During this time, you need to undergo:
- Complete blood count
- Biochemical blood test
- X-ray examination of the chest
- Ultrasound examination of blood vessels and heart
- Electrocardiography (for elderly patients)
The surgery itself takes approximately 1-2 hours. The surgeon removes the damaged cartilage and bone, then installs new metal and plastic implants to restore the function of your knee.
There are two main types of surgery:
- Total knee replacement – replacing both parts of a knee joint.
- Partial knee replacement – when a surgeon replaces only one part of your joint.
Damaged joint surfaces are treated with a special technique so that an artificial knee joint of the appropriate size can be well connected to the bone.
Rehabilitation and functional results
The rehabilitation period lasts for 1-2 months. During this time, you should follow the doctor’s recommendations and instructions of the rehabilitologist. Good adherence to rehabilitation measures influence significantly a function of the extremity and the muscle tone.
The rehabilitation program includes:
- Exercises to restore the function of the substituted joint,
- Therapeutic exercises aimed at strengthening thigh muscles,
- Gait correction,
- Intake of painkillers (tablets and injections) in order to relieve painful sensations,
- Using crutches or a cane in order to reduce the load on the joint,
- Eliminate unnecessary physical strain on the knee joint by a gradual increase in the exercise intensity,
- Other non-medical services aimed at adaptation of living conditions to temporary limitations after the joint replacement (e.g. reconstruction of the shower, avoiding walking up and downstairs).
After a total knee joint replacement, more than 90% of patients report a significant reduction in pain, increased knee mobility, and improved quality of life. After the comprehensive rehabilitation, the patient can walk, swim, play golf, and ride a bicycle.
It is important to remember that knee joint replacement surgery does not make you fit to engage in an active sport immediately. A rehabilitation period comes first. If all the prescriptions are followed, the normal function of the knee is restored in 3-6 months after the operation.