Total Knee Replacement
Injury, arthritis, or other types of deterioration can cause chronic pain in the knee requiring a total knee replacement. Conservative treatment options such as physical therapy, injections and anti-inflammatory medications may help alleviate knee pain, however when those methods fail a knee replacement may be the next step to allow you to return to your day-to-day activities pain-free.
A total knee replacement is the removal of damaged segments of the knee both on the shin bone, thighbone, and kneecap. The knee is then replaced with metal and plastic hardware to reconstruct the knee and restore its regular functions.
After surgery, with the help of physical therapy, the pain and discomfort is alleviated in a majority of patients and you will be able to successfully resume your lifestyle with minimal activity modification.
Total vs. Partial Knee Replacement Surgery
Your surgeon at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine will guide you through the decision of a partial or total knee replacement. While some patients require a total knee replacement in order to regain complete function and mobility of the knee, the option of partial knee replacement can be beneficial for treating isolated arthritic conditions and pain. Total knee replacements are conducted when larger portions of the damaged femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) require removal.
Knee Replacement Surgery
If all non-surgical options have been unsuccessful, total knee replacement surgery may be performed. Your surgeon will discuss all surgical options with you including a minimally invasive knee replacement or a traditional knee replacement. Your best surgical option and treatment plan will be determined together.
Knee replacement candidates generally suffer from:
- Moderate to severe pain limiting mobility even during rest
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Arthritis of the knee
- Traumatic arthritis
- Inflammation of the knee
Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement Surgery
As a relatively new procedure, minimally invasive knee replacement surgery is more complicated than a traditional knee replacement. However, this approach can lead to faster rehabilitation, less pain, and a shorter hospital stay thanks to the smaller incisions and new approach to accessing the joint. The minimally invasive technique may not be best for every patient depending on age and the knee condition.
Traditional Knee Replacement Surgery
While the long-term impacts for both types of total knee replacement are similar, the technique for the surgery has a few distinct differences. With traditional knee replacement surgery, a larger incision is made in the knee and extends farther into the quadricep muscle. The recovery time can be longer due to the cutting of more tendons with this method. This method is used when a surgeon requires a more direct access to the knee joint in order to successfully insert the new hardware.
After Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Once the surgery is complete, patients will typically spend a few days in the hospital to begin physical therapy. Continued physical therapy is an important part of the total knee replacement process as it is the best route to restored mobility and activity. Most patients can begin resuming normal activity within three to six weeks of surgery and make a full recovery in three to five months.
Results of Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Pain relief and improved mobility occur in a majority of patients after recovering from total knee replacement. Despite a successful return to regular daily activities, some high impact activities may still be discouraged such as running, skiing and contact sports.