In the knee joint, there is a layer of smooth cartilage on the lower end of the femur( thigh bone), the upper end of the tibia (shin bone) and the undersurface of the kneecap (patella). This cartilage serves as a cushion and allows for smooth motion of the knee. Arthritis is wearing away of this smooth cartilage. Eventually it wears down to the bone. Rubbing of bone against bone causes pain, swelling and stiffness.
A total knee replacement is really a cartilage replacement with an artificial surface. The knee itself is not replaced, as is commonly thought, but rather an artificial substitute for the cartilage is inserted at the end of the bones. This is typically done with a metal alloy on the femur and plastic spacer on the tibia and kneecap (patella). This creates a new, smooth cushion and a functioning joint that does not hurt.
Knee-replacement surgery has a high rate of success in eliminating pain and restoring range of motion; 95 to 98 percent of patients achieve good to excellent results.
Arthritis of the Knee is treated conservatively in the initial stages. When the knee pain is severe enough to restrict activities of daily living, then the decision for Knee Replacement Surgery should be taken.
Age is not a problem if you are in reasonable health and have the desire to continue living a productive, active life. We have operated upon patients who were 95 years old.
We expect most knees to last more than 15 years.
Most surgeries go well, without any complications. Infection and blood clots are two serious complications that concern us the most. To avoid these complications, we use antibiotics and blood thinners. We also take special precautions in the operating room to reduce risk of infections, such as wearing “space suits,” which are full-headed and -body operating garments that are exceptionally sterile. The chances of acquiring an infection or developing a blood clot are 1 percent or less.
You might need blood after the surgery. You may donate your own blood, if you are able, or use the community-blood-bank supply.
You will be made to stand on the evening of the surgery itself. The next day you will walk and go yourself to the toilet. The 3rd day you will be made to climb stairs. The 4th day you will be discharged.
Most knee-replacement patients will be hospitalized for four days after their surgery.
The surgery itself may take as little as 30 minutes. We reserve approximately two to two-and- a-half hours for surgery. Some of this time is taken by the operating room staff to prepare for the surgery.