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How Do I Know If I Need Knee Replacement Surgery

Mild Knee Replacement Complications

How To Know If You Need A Knee Replacement

All of us will experience some mild knee replacement complications after surgery. Your recovery will be a time of adjustment and each persons body adjusts to their new knee differently.

Complications can include bruising, swelling, tenderness and pain during the healing process. In most cases, these minor complications will last only a short time .

Knee stiffness may develop after surgery, especially if you remain sedentary. Physical therapy will help with many of these mild complications.

Some mild complications may persist and need further attention from your physician. Ill mention the more serious complications below.

Always follow your doctors instructions to reduce your risk of developing complications.

How To Know If Total Knee Replacement Surgery Is Necessary

Total knee replacement surgery sounds scary and intimidating to most people, which is natural, because it is a major surgery. But the benefits are potentially tremendous to your quality of life if its necessary.

Sometimes, having this surgery isnt the best recommendation because it may not be needed. Other times, having a total knee replacement is the best course of action. It all depends on your circumstances and your doctors recommendations.

So, when does total knee replacement make sense?

The first thing to look for is the nature of your pain and injury. If you have pain that is progressively getting worse, and have limited or impaired function of your leg and neither seems to be getting better then you definitely need to have your knee examined. If both of these things are true, total knee replacement surgery may be an excellent choice.

Replacement surgery is also recommended if there has been a serious deterioration of the knee due to injury, arthritis, or another destructive joint disease. Osteoarthritis of the knee is the leading reason why knees are replaced. Sometimes, the damage is too severe to be repaired, and the entire joint has to be replaced.

If your orthopedic surgeon can offer you a less-intensive solution, like a partial knee replacement, he or she probably will. But, it depends on the damage to your knee not just today, but what might be there in the future.

The Verdict: If Youve Answered Yes Its Time To Consider How Total Knee Replacement Surgery Can Help

If youve answered yes to one or more of our 5 telltale signs, its time to consider an option that will give you long-term relief: total knee replacement surgery.

This choice is the most permanent option to remedy your chronic knee pain once and for all.

Why not take back the mobility and excitement you used to have instead of living with knee pain when you dont have to?

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What Is A Knee Revision

A knee revision is the replacement of prosthetic implants in a person who previously had a total knee replacement. In this surgery, known as a “reoperation,” an original prosthesis is removed and a new prosthesis put in place.

Some knee revisions may require the replacement of only one implant, while others require a complete exchange of all the prostheses that were implanted during the original knee replacement surgery . A complete revision of this type is a complex procedure that requires extensive preoperative planning, specialized implants and tools, prolonged operating times, and mastery of difficult surgical techniques.

What You Need To Know About Knee Replacement In Canada

How Do I Know If I Need Knee Replacement Surgery?

Arthroplasty or Knee Replacement is a surgical procedure involving the exchange of a damaged and weakened knee joint with an artificial one. It is commonly performed for different types of arthritic knee diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis mostly brought on with old age. Other causes can be accidents which lead to meniscal tears, joint dislocation, ligament tears, and cartilage damage. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee replacement. Genu Valgus and Genu Varus can also be treated by the surgery. Arthroplasty can either be partial or complete depending upon the degree of damage.

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Are There Any Reasons Why I Cant Have A Knee Replacement

Unfortunately, some people may not be able to have a knee replacement even though their arthritis is very bad. This may be because:

  • your thigh muscles are very weak and may not be able to support your new knee joint
  • there are deep or long-lasting open sores in the skin below your knee, increasing your risk of infection.

What Is Recovery Like

You can start moving the knee the day of your surgery. Your knee function should return rapidly and with less pain than with total knee replacement. Youll work with a physical therapist to mobilize the knee while in the hospital and for two to four weeks after discharge. Youre usually discharged no later than one or two days after surgery.

Youll need medication to guard against formation of a blood clot while in the hospital and maybe for a period of time after youre discharged.

If all goes well, you should be back to full activity in about six to eight weeks. Impact exercises or jogging/running may not be recommended because the replacement includes a bearing surface that can wear. However, activities like tennis, skiing, and other sports are okay. This, of course, is why partial knee replacement is even being considered to return you to activities you enjoy.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/16/2020.

References

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Recovering From Knee Replacement Surgery

You’ll usually be in hospital for 3 to 5 days, but recovery times can vary.

Once you’re able to be discharged, your hospital will give you advice about looking after your knee at home. You’ll need to use a frame or crutches at first and a physiotherapist will teach you exercises to help strengthen your knee.

Most people can stop using walking aids around 6 weeks after surgery, and start driving after 6 to 8 weeks.

Full recovery can take up to 2 years as scar tissue heals and your muscles are restored by exercise. A very small amount of people will continue to have some pain after 2 years.

Who Is Offered Knee Replacement Surgery

Do I need surgery if I have no cartilage left in my knee?

A knee replacement is major surgery, so is normally only recommended if other treatments, such as physiotherapy or steroid injections, have not reduced pain or improved mobility.

You may be offered knee replacement surgery if:

  • you have severe pain, swelling and stiffness in your knee joint and your mobility is reduced
  • your knee pain is so severe that it interferes with your quality of life and sleep
  • everyday tasks, such as shopping or getting out of the bath, are difficult or impossible
  • you’re feeling depressed because of the pain and lack of mobility
  • you cannot work or have a social life

You’ll also need to be well enough to cope with both a major operation and the rehabilitation afterwards.

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Joint Pain Is Wearing You Down Emotionally And Mentally

The physical ramifications of hip joint pain are obvious, as it affects your ability to move and perform actions. However, chronic joint pain can also take a toll on a patients emotional and mental well-being. Even if you can tolerate your level of hip pain, after dealing with this symptom over the course of months or even years, you may find yourself exhibiting the signs of a mental health condition. In fact, chronic pain has been linked to both depression and anxiety.

D Printed Knee Replacement Vs Traditional Knee Replacement

The original prosthetic knee joints were one-size-fits all, which means they didnt really fit anyone. Manufacturers recognized this problem and began to manufacture artificial joints in various sizes to better suit an individual patients needs.

However, size is not the only unique aspect of a knee joint. The shape of the joint and the angle at which the femur meets the tibia varies significantly between people. Even the precise placement of various ligaments in the upper and lower portions of the knee joint can be different among individuals. When using one-size-fits-most implants, some surgeons had to remove certain ligaments and tendons in order to make the joint fit.

The advent of 3D printing technology made customized knee joints a possibility. Today, many orthopedic surgeons recommend custom-printed knee joints, in part because some studies suggest that patients who receive customized knee implants recover faster and experience fewer postoperative adverse events than patients receiving a traditional knee implant.

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Have Other Treatments Been Exhausted

Experts typically recommend that anyone with knee osteoarthritis pain try nonsurgical treatments before considering knee replacements. Nonsurgical treatments include, but are not limited to, engaging in physical therapy and exercise, bracing, losing weight, taking pain medications, and getting therapeutic knee injections.

Knee osteoarthritis can affect joint biomechanics and increase the risk for falling, bone damage at the knee, and other wear-and-tear injuries.

The risk of fallingFalling can result in life-altering injuries, particularly as people age. If knee arthritis symptoms include a sensation that the affected knee may buckle, or if there are other risk factors for falling, knee replacement surgery may be advised.

The risk of bone damageModerate to severe knee osteoarthritis can result in damaged bone. Bone damage can reduce the likelihood of a successful knee replacement surgery.

Knee arthritis is a progressive, degenerative condition, meaning the joint damage gets worse over time. As knee cartilage wears away, friction can occur between the bottom of the femur and top of the tibia . Over time, the friction can lead to bone damage.

There is no surefire way to predict if and how fast bone tissue will become damaged. However, medical imaging can evaluate the current bone health of the knee joint.

A physician or physical therapist can evaluate the kneeâs biomechanics and help identify other existing or potential joint problems.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Knee Replacement

Knee Replacement Surgery Need? How Do I Know?

For most people, it will take three months after surgery before they can do their regular activities again. It may take six months to a year before your knee regains full function.

How quickly you recover from surgery will depend on your:

  • age,
  • how strong your knee was before surgery, and
  • whether you have other health problems like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

These diseases weaken your immune system and can slow down healing.

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Which Factors Affect How Much Total Knee Arthroplasty Costs

Many things can affect the price that you pay for healthcare. The four main factors that will determine the cost of your knee replacement surgery are:

  • Facility setting The cost of your knee replacement surgery will depend on where you have it done. Getting a knee replacement in a hospital will be significantly more expensive than having it done in an outpatient center. Inpatient facilities tend to cost more to run, so patients end up paying more for care.
  • Insured or uninsured If you have health insurance, the cost of your total knee replacement can depend on how much of the surgery your insurance plan covers, if any at all. If you dont have health insurance, you can expect to pay the entire cost of the surgery out-of-pocket.
  • Location The cost of knee replacement surgery can vary by state, region, and even city. If you live in a rural area with fewer facilities to choose from, you will probably pay more than you would if you lived in a city with many providers. This is why more and more people are choosing to travel to lower-cost areas to save money on medical procedures.
  • Implant selection Some implant brands are more expensive than others, and the supplier your hospital or surgery center uses can affect the total price you pay for your surgery. The cost of your implant can also depend on the materials its made of, as well as whether its customized or off-the-shelf.

How Much Will Knee Injections Cost With Medicare

The cost of corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid injections varies based on the specific medication your doctor prescribes and where you live. Which portion of Medicare pays for your injections determines how much youâll pay out of pocket.

  • Under Medicare Part A, you generally only pay coinsurance once your stay in a hospital or long-term care facility exceeds 60 days.
  • Under Medicare Part B, youâre usually responsible for 20% of the cost of knee injections, with Medicare paying the remaining 80%.
  • Under Medicare Part C, youâll likely have to pay a copay or coinsurance. Consult your plan for more information.

Along with the cost of the injections, you may have to pay for office visits, X-rays, MRIs, other diagnostic testing and additional fees.

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How Does A Knee Replacement Work

A total knee replacement surgery can take from one to three hours. During that time, an orthopedic surgeon will remove damaged cartilage and bone before fitting the replacement joint, called an implant, with help from the latest robotic-assisted technology. Using this device, your surgeon can pre-plan the procedure and get the most accurate measurements, ensuring that your implant is perfectly fitted. It also helps with bone resurfacing and the removal of cartilage. Implants come in a variety of different designs created by different manufacturers, but will always contain metal and plastic components that fuse to the resurfaced bone. Your orthopedic surgeon will select the design that best fits each patient based on their lifestyle habits and the severity of the biological joints deterioration, said Dr. Doherty.

Testing For Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee Replacement – Everything you need to know

To evaluate you as a candidate for this type of surgery, your doctor will go through several tests and procedures.

Theyll evaluate the other joints next to your knee, such as the hip and the ankle, to see if the surgery will deliver the desired function. If either of those two joints are seriously damaged, replacement surgery could actually make that damage worse, or at least limit the benefits of the knee surgery.

Your doctor will also review your medication, since some may complicate the surgery or the recovery.

A standard battery of X-rays and MRI scans will probably be necessary to completely evaluate the knee. An MRI can reveal if there are other causes of the pain and lack of function, such as a stress fracture. But X-rays will reveal most of what your doctor needs to know.

Additionally, you could undergo chest X-rays, blood tests, urine tests, and an EKG to see if you have anemia, infection, a heart or lung disease, or anything else that could complicate surgery.

The best way to know for sure is to talk to your doctor and your orthopedic surgeon. They can give you guidance as to what you should expect if you do have to have total knee replacement surgery and walk you through the process. If the surgery goes well, you can expect less pain and more function as you recover and rehabilitate giving you the quality of life you may now be missing.

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How Common Is Knee Replacement Surgery

The surgery is very common. Surgeons started doing it in the 1960s, with regular updates to techniques and implants along the way.

Almost 800,000 knee replacements currently get performed each year in the United States. The surgery is often done in older adults whose knees have worn down over time. But its also become popular in middle age, as people want to stay active.

Youve Had Persistent Knee Pain For Anywhere From 3

General knee pain can happen at any time and to anyone. You could feel pain after walking up several flights of stairs or outdoors playing with your grandkids.

Many people also experience general knee pain due to everyday activities like mowing the lawn, sitting or standing for too long, and even exercising.

In these instances, the pain is usually short-lived you may experience it for a few days, but after that, it disappears and you forget all about it.

So what happens when the pain sticks around for longer than a month?

Experiencing persistent knee pain for anywhere from 3, 4, or even 6 months is a big red flag that something more is up. Its also a warning that you may need a total knee replacement.

Experiencing persistent knee pain for anywhere from 3, 4, or even 6 months is a big red flag that something more is up.

Keep reading to see if you have any of the other common symptoms of chronic knee pain.

Or you can skip ahead and take the knee function assessment to figure out if total knee replacement surgery is right for you.

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How Long Will The New Knee Joint Last

For 8090% of people who have total knee replacement, the new joint should last about 20 years, and it may well last longer.

If you’ve had a partial knee replacement, you’re more likely to need a repeat operation about 1 person in 10 needs further surgery after 10 years.

The chances of needing another operation is greater if you’re overweight and/or involved in heavy manual work.

How Does Knee Pain Affect Lifestyle

These Things You Must Know Before Going for Knee Replacement Surgery ...

How pain is perceived and tolerated is unique to each individual. If knee pain affects working, socializing, sleeping, maintaining good hygiene, or other daily activities, then it may be time to consider knee replacement surgery.

Knee pain and active lifestylesPeople who live active lives may be more affected by knee pain and decide to have knee replacement surgery sooner. For example, a person whose regular activities include standing for work, babysitting grandchildren, and walking a pet dog may be more affected by arthritic knee pain than a person who lives a more sedentary life.

See Knee Pain and Arthritis

Pain and joint damage do not always match upThe decision to have knee replacement surgery should not be based solely on medical imaging that shows severe knee degeneration. Rather, it should be based on moderate to severe knee arthritis symptoms that correlate with medical imaging.

See Knee Osteoarthritis Diagnosis

For example, a person whose x-ray shows a severely degenerated knee but who experiences only mild pain is probably not a good candidate for knee replacement. In contrast, a person who has a moderately degenerated knee and experiences severe pain may be a good candidate for knee replacement.

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