The knee is the largest joint in your body, and healthy knees are required to perform most daily activities. The knee has three main parts: the lower end of the thigh bone (femur), the upper end of the shin (tibia), and the patella. The ends of these three bones where they touch are covered with cartilage, a soft substance that protects the bones and allows them to move easily. The menisci (plural of meniscus) are located between the femur and the tibia. Long ligaments hold the femur and tibia together and provide stability. The long thigh muscles strengthen the knee. Normally, all these components work in harmony. But illness or injury can distort this harmony, resulting in pain, muscle weakness, and reduced function.
The most common cause of chronic knee pain is arthritis. Although there are many types of arthritis, most knee pain is caused by only three types: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.
Knee replacement is a surgical procedure that aims to replace a damaged knee joint with an artificial one. This artificial joint is called a prosthesis. During the procedure, damaged cartilage and bone are removed from the knee joint, then artificial pieces are placed on the knee.
If your knee is severely damaged by arthritis or injury, even basic daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs may be difficult for you. You may also feel pain even while sitting or lying down.
If non-surgical treatments like medications and walking support no longer help, you may want to consider total knee replacement surgery. Joint replacement surgery is a safe and effective procedure to relieve pain, correct leg deformity, and help you resume normal activities.
Nerve or blood vessel damage
Stiffness or numbness
Implant failures or deformities
Hyaluronic acid injections
Stem cell treatment
Knee replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty, is surgery to replace all or part of your knee joint.
There are four basic steps of knee replacement surgery:
Preparation of the bone
The positioning of metal implants
Resurfacing of the patella
Inserting a spacer
The first step to start your knee replacement process will be the online consultation as in every process. During this consultation, our specialist will ask you some questions to understand your story, complaints, and expectations. It will be also useful to learn your complete medical history to take into account any possible contraindications. The main target of this stage is to make sure whether you are a suitable candidate for knee replacement or not.
After it is decided that you are the right candidate for the knee replacement procedure, we will share a list of the clinics and surgeons by filtering them according to the criteria we receive from you. Once you have done your selection, we proceed to the next stage which includes date determination and other detailed adjustments.
When you arrive at the clinic, you will have a face-to-face consultation with your knee replacement surgeon. In this consultation, the surgeon will review your general health. He or she will ask about your current knee pain or stiffness. Tell your doctor how pain or stiffness affects your daily activities or your ability to play sports. He may also ask you if you have fatigue, anxiety, or depression. You may need to stop some medications several weeks before surgery. These medications are blood thinners, like aspirin and ibuprofen. It also includes some antirheumatic drugs. Make sure your surgeon knows all the medications you are taking. Also, you should ask how long before surgery you should stop taking them. Your surgeon may direct you to do exercises to strengthen your leg muscles before surgery.
Before the knee replacement process begins, your surgeon will conduct some necessary medical tests to make sure that you are in acceptable health status for the procedure. An x-ray screening will also be requested at this stage to complete surgery planning. Every patient is required to undergo medical tests to ensure that nothing will affect the success of the surgery and if any risk is detected at this stage, surgeons may postpone the surgery and try to eliminate the primary risks first.
General anesthesia is commonly used to keep patients asleep and pain-free during surgery. Instead, you may have local anesthesia, such as spinal or epidural anesthesia or a peripheral nerve block. Regional anesthesia keeps the waist area numb, but you will be awake during surgery.
Your surgeon will make an incision over your knee joint. It will remove the damaged parts of the knee joint and replace them with a knee implant. The knee implant could be made of metal and plastic. The surgeon may hold the implant with medical cement.
Your surgeon will move the muscles and other tissues around your joints so that they return to their original place. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples. Strips of medical tape and a bandage are also used to cover your wound.
It is normal to have more stiffness and pain after surgery. Pain and stiffness should improve with exercise.
Do not get out of bed until your doctor says it's okay. The physical therapist will help you walk after surgery. Walking the day of surgery will help decrease pain and improve knee function. You may use crutches or a walker.
You can stay in the hospital for 1 to 4 days, or you can go home soon after surgery. Your doctor may talk to you about rehabilitation you can do at home. A physical therapist will teach you exercises to help strengthen the knee and prevent stiffness. You may also need occupational therapy to teach you the best way to bathe and dress.
A joint replacement identification card may be issued. The card will indicate which joint was replaced and when the procedure was. Tell the rest of your doctors about your joint replacement surgery.
Call your doctor or surgeon if:
o Your leg feels warm, tender, and sore. It could see swollen and red.
o You cannot walk or move your knee.
o Blood soaks through the bandage.
o The incision opens.
o Your incision is red, swollen, or purulent.
o You have a fever or chills.
o You have trouble moving or flexing your knee.
o You have new pain or the pain you felt before does not get better with medicine.
o You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Wear compression stockings as directed. Elastic compression stockings help keep blood from pooling in your leg veins. Your doctor may prescribe compression socks that are right for you. Don't buy over-the-counter ones unless your doctor tells you to. Such socks may not fit you well or have elastic that cuts off circulation. Ask your doctor when you should start wearing compression stockings and for how long you should wear them each day.
Do not cross your legs for 6 weeks. The risk of blood clots is greater when crossing the legs. It could also cause the implant to fall out of place.
The metal in your joint can trigger metal detectors, like in an airport. Inform officers of your joint replacement surgery. You can also show your joint replacement ID card if you were given one.
MRIs are considered safe for people with joint replacements. The type of metal used is not magnetic. Tell the rest of your doctors about your joint replacement surgery.
Is Knee Replacement Procedure Painful?
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia; therefore, patients do not feel any pain during the knee replacement surgery. To ease the postoperative pain, your surgeon prescribes pain relievers.
What Are the Instructions About Doing Activities After Knee Replacement Surgery?
Know your limits. Slowly resume your activities and take breaks to rest. Pain and swelling can increase when you do too much activity. Do not do any activity until your doctor tells you that you are ready to go.
Use assistive devices as directed. The thigh muscles will be weak after surgery. Support devices will help you avoid falls.
Climb the stairs by first placing the non-operated leg on the step. Then bring the operated leg to the same step. Repeat.
Go down the stairs by first placing the operated leg on the step. Then bring the non-operated leg to the same step. Repeat.
Do only light housework. Ask your doctor which is safe for you. Do not vacuum, change the sheets on the bed, or do anything that will stretch, bend, or twist your hand.
Do not drive for at least 6 weeks or until your doctor says it's okay.
Do not practice contact sports or skiing, or play tennis or golf until your doctor says it's okay. These activities can loosen your knee implant.
Learn more about Knee Replacement in Turkey by comparing costs and reviewing the clinics and doctors.
Our team will dedicate their effort and time to help you choose the clinic best for you. Our goal is not just to find ‘a doctor’ for you, but to find ‘the right doctor’.