Life After Replacement Surgery
After surgery patients can walk, bike, swim, play golf, ski in moderation, play doubles tennis and perform other moderately strenuous activities. Remember, your knee replacement will not make you 18 again, you may still have some mild stiffness, decreased range of motion and limitations of your activity.
- We generally do not recommend running for exercise after a knee replacement
- We also discourage climbing high up on ladders after hip replacement.
- Kneeling after a knee replacement should be done on a limited basis.
- Patients may get into a pool or hot tub beginning 3-4 weeks after the surgery provided the incision is healed.
- Your knee replacement has an approximately 85% chance of being intact and functioning after 15 years
And Just How Good Is Joint
Most articles about joint replacement surgery make statements such as: The vast majority of patients who have their knees replaced are markedly improved or More than 80% of people who have their hip replaced are glad they had it done. While these statements are generally quite true, there is still a significant number of people who get less than they expected from the surgery. Part of the disappointment may be because their expectations were too high.
Two recent studies analyzed the question of how good knee replacement surgery is but not from the surgeons perspective. These studies surveyed patients directly. After all, joint replacement surgery is intended to reduce pain and improve function, so its the patients perspective that counts! Heres what they found:
How You Can Prepare For Recovery
The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for a successful recovery after surgery, is to get things ready and in place before your procedure. Some of the ways you can prepare yourself, and your home prior to your procedure include:
- Confine your living space to the ground floor
- Install handrails in your bathroom
- Take out any rugs or excess cords
- Elevate your toilet seat with a riser
You may also want to make meals ahead of time and freeze them so that you dont have to cook for several days post surgery. Preparing your home and planning before surgery makes your life and recovery a lot smoother.
The relief a knee replacement brings can be life changing. When youre ready to take that step, call our office at 575-623-9101 or book an appointment with Dr. Osmani online today.
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What Are The Risks Of Having Knee Replacement Surgery Too Soon
The average age of someone who gets a knee replacement is about 70 years old. However, some people decide to get knee replacement surgery as young as 50.
There are several reasons younger people may opt for a knee replacement, particularly those who are extremely active or athletes. If youre young and considering a knee replacement, here are a couple things to know:
- Your implant can wear out prematurely. If youre in your 40s or 50s, youre likely living a more active life than someone in their 60s or 70s. More activity, means more wear and tear on the joint implant, which can cause it to wear out more quickly than expected. And that means pain, stiffness and mobility issues can return.
- Knee replacements dont last forever and you may need another surgery. Many patients have knee replacements that last for 20 years or more. But the longer and harder you use your replacement joint, the more likely it becomes that youll need a second knee replacement surgery to replace a worn out implant. And of course, knee replacement surgery carries some risks, especially as you age.
How Long Does A Knee Replacement Last A Systematic Review And Meta
- Jonathan T EvansCorrespondenceCorrespondence to: Mr Jonathan T Evans, Musculoskeletal Research Unit, Translational Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Southmead Hospital, Bristol BS10 5NB, UK
- Ashley W BlomAffiliationsMusculoskeletal Research Unit, Translational Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UKNational Institute for Health Research Bristol Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospitals, Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
- Joint senior authorsAffiliations
- Joint senior authorsAffiliationsMusculoskeletal Research Unit, Translational Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UKNational Institute for Health Research Bristol Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospitals, Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
- Joint senior authors
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Many Patients Decided On Retirement Rather Than Go Back To Work After A Total Knee Replacement
As we have seen in the previous study and patient observations, fatigue, pain, setbacks, and other medical problems may cause the person to simply seek early retirement. If you talk to a knee replacement patient who took this option, it may have been unlikely that they would have gone through with the surgery if they were going to retire
In a study of 167 patients who were working at the time of their total knee replacement surgery, researchers at the University of Amsterdam wanted to know why 46 patients did not return to work and 121 did. So they started looking for clues.
- The average age of the 167 patients was 60 at the time of the surgery
- More than half of these patients had significant weight problems, 58% being obese
- Physically demanding work:
- About half the patients: Forty-eight percent performed light work
- 32 % medium-level physical work
- and 20 % heavy knee-demanding work before total knee replacement surgery.
Of the 46 that did not return to work:
- Eight of the patients said they did not return to work because of problems related to knee replacement.
- Seven of the patients reported other physical complaints that prevented them from returning to work.
- The other 31 took early retirement from this work.
The researchers noted something interesting in this group.
How about the 121 who did return to work:
Of these patients,
Alternatives To Knee Replacement Surgery
The Centeno-Schultz Clinic has been using image-guided bone marrow concentrate injections for 15 years to help patients avoid knee replacement. We are experts in the treatment of knee injuries. We recently published the results of our randomized control study. 48 patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis were randomized to exercise therapy or bone marrow concentrate injection treatment. More than 2/3rds of the patients treated with this protocol met the functional criteria for success at 2 years out . So that procedure has helped many patients avoid big surgery.
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Keep Your Weight Under Check
It is extremely important to maintain a healthy weight. An increase in weight can cause sooner wear and tear of the joint, it may even cause the artificial joint to break under undue pressure.
As the knees bear the complete weight of the body, it is important to maintain a healthy weight so that the knees are subjected to lesser stress.
So What Can Be Done For Osteoarthritis
The available treatments for osteoarthritis include:
- Non-medication approaches, such as physical therapy, loss of excess weight, or use of braces or a cane
- Complementary and alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, massage, or tai chi
- Medications, such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medications, or cortisone injections
- Surgery, such as knee or hip replacement.
Surgery is usually a last resort. But for severe osteoarthritis, its often the only option likely to make much difference. In the United States alone, more than 600,000 knee replacements and 300,000 hip replacements are performed each year and predictions are that these numbers will rise dramatically in the coming decades.
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Your Knee Will Feel Good But Different
Youll have less pain and stiffness, but you may hear clicks or pops coming from the implant in your knee. If it doesnt hurt, these sounds are nothing to worry about. But kneeling may not be comfortable, so dont force it.
You need to stay mindful of your new knee, even when you feel perfectly fine. Be cautious to not lift items that weigh more than 20 pounds, which can stress your joint. Avoid pivoting sharply or jerking your leg, both of which can also wear out the implant.
Prefer To Listen To This Article
We always encourage positive visualisation and documentation of the future here at The Physio Co . But dont expect to be hopping out of bed and running home the day after a total knee replacement surgery.
Thats not to say the tennis career is over! Merely to say youll likely be watching the next major tennis tournament on TV rather than attending or participating at your local club this year, anyway!
In addition to our six-to-eight week knee replacement surgery preparation guide, weve also created the step-by-step total knee replacement recovery guide below.
The following steps, recommendations and timelines are based on how our physiotherapists support knee replacement patients and help them reach their goals in roughly 8 to 12 weeks after surgery.
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The Days After Surgery
Most people stay in the hospital 1-4 days after knee replacement surgery. The length of your stay depends on several factors, including your overall health, how well you can do the activities the hospital staff asks you to do, and whether you have help at home, among others.
During your hospital stay, youre likely to begin working with a physical therapist so you can get out of bed and walk with an assistive device, such as a walker or a cane. The staff keeps an eye on your incision and checks to make sure its healing well with no sign of infection.
Before your procedure, you need to make preparations for when you come home afterward. You may want to have some meals that can be simply reheated during your recovery, or have arrangements for someone to help you with meals.
If your bedroom is upstairs, you may want to have a temporary place to sleep downstairs. A few preparations beforehand can save you a good deal of difficulty following your procedure.
Benefits Of Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery enjoys a near-perfect satisfaction rate from those who have undergone the procedure. This is because, for most people, life changes in many positive ways after knee replacement.
Most people who are candidates for knee replacement surgery first realized they needed to see a doctor because of pain. People may experience chronic pain that comes and goes, unrelenting pain, and aches that dont get better with pain relief medication. Some people experience pain only with mobility, like when walking, running, standing for long periods of time, or during exercise. While other people may experience knee pain even at rest. While knee replacement isnt a permanent cure for arthritis, many people who have the procedure find near immediate relief from the pain they experienced before surgery.
Improved mobility is another good outcome experienced by many people who have knee replacement surgery. The knee joint is so important to movement that people who are experiencing even moderate knee pain can end up having significantly decreased mobility, even finding it difficult to walk short distances or perform everyday tasks. After knee replacement surgery, many people find that the pain relief is so effective that they are able to resume activities and mobility that they had been missing due to knee pain.
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Stay Active For A Faster Recovery
Usually, if everything goes well, a patient is expected to stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days following a total knee replacement surgery.
The doctor encourages movement from the next postoperative day itself with the help of some support. The patient should be able to walk without any support within two to three weeks of the surgery.
The patients will be able to perform activities which they were not able to do earlier, within a years time.
Adhering to an active lifestyle and exercising regularly will be helpful in regaining the strength of the joint quickly.
Types Of Knee Replacement
- Total Knee Replacement is a surgical procedure to resurface a knee damaged by arthritis. Metal and plastic parts are used to cap the ends of the bones that form the knee joint, along with the kneecap. This surgery may be considered for someone who has severe arthritis or a severe knee injury.
- Partial Knee Replacement surgery to replace either the inside or outside parts of the knee. It is called a partial replacement because only one part of the damage knee is replaced.
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Positive Outlook Helps Knee Replacement Recovery
However, a June 2022 study from Kent State University researchers, published in the Journal of behavioral medicine suggested that reliance factors such as self-belief in recovery, positive affect, vigor, and vitality may help against chronic pain pre and post knee replacement and assist in recovery. In this study, 110 patients undergoing unilateral, total knee replacement surgery completed self-report assessments of study variables.
- Self-efficacy was assessed two-one-half weeks prior to surgery, positive affect the day after surgery, vitality and vigor one-month following surgery, and post-operative pain at one- and three-months following surgery.
- Control variables included gender, pain, and depressive symptoms prior to surgery.
- Path analysis revealed significant self-efficacy benefits from pre-operative self-efficacy to positive affect during hospitalization, as well as to vitality and vigor at one-month following surgery.
- Both indicators of energy predicted better post-operative recovery three-months: vitality vigor.
When To Seek Medical Advice
I can still remember a hike up Mt Moosilauke in June 2017, when I felt like Id injured my knee. I havent always had the greatest knees for hiking, but this felt really off. Id done a long loop over the mountain, coupled with a few bushwhacks. Initially, I just brushed it off as overuse, and things gradually improved but never returned to where they had been before that hike. That hike had somehow suddenly broken me.
The hikes continued because its what I do, but I quickly found that I couldnt do what I did before. Mileage and difficulty were all lowered. Instead of climbing 4,000 footers in the White Mountains, I was leaning more on the 52 With A View, lower peaks in New Hampshires Lakes Region, and walks on Concord, New Hampshires local trail system.
I eventually sought out an orthopedic doctor and to make a long story short, was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both knees, with the right one being more advanced. Those initial x-rays were eye-opening: I didnt have much cartilage left.
Obviously, osteoarthritis doesnt just appear out of nowhere. The progression was largely unknown to me until it finally roared up and got my attention on that Moosilauke hike.
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Replacement Joints Wear Out Requiring Additional Surgery
The truth is artificial knee joints do not last forever. The younger you are at the time of the knee replacement the more likely you will wear out the artificial joint . This most often requiring additional surgery. The risks of your knee replacement wearing out increase if you are overweight, do heavy manual labor, run, or play vigorous sports. Revision rates of about 6% after five years and 12% after ten years are to be expected .
When Outpatient Knee Replacement Is Safe
Most knee replacement surgeries require a stay at the hospital, especially if youre undergoing total knee replacement. A stay in the hospital allows Dr. Karas to more closely monitor your recovery and initiate physical therapy when you have the full support of the experienced medical staff. Dr. Karas does his best to get you home as quickly as possible.
However, if youre undergoing a partial knee replacement, its possible that Dr. Karas may let you go home the same day. When determining if its safe for you to go home the same day of your knee replacement surgery, he takes into consideration your overall health, age, and support system. How well you bounce back while youre in the surgical suite recovery room is also a factor that determines whether you can go home right away.
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Expect A Long Relationship With Your New Knee
Your new knee can last a very long time, often 20 years or longer. Theres about a 90-95% chance your artificial knee will stay functional for 10 years and an 80-85% chance itll last 20 years.
Stay at a healthy weight, avoid undue wear-and-tear, and take care of your health and youll have your knee for the long term.
Its uncommon, but some people do require repair or replacement of their new knee sooner rather than later. This is usually due to infection that occurs within the first year of surgery, but a loose or damaged knee implant can also require a redo.
If you experience new pain, swelling, or limitations, contact us right away so we can examine your affected knee.
We also ask that you come in for an evaluation every 3-5 years, just to make sure your knee is operating as it should. We can catch any potential problems and head them off so you can keep your knee functional for a long time.
Life with a knee replacement means less pain and dysfunction. If youre ready to get your life back and start enjoying activities again, set up a consultation with us at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists. either our Bethesda or Germantown, Maryland, office today.
Getting Yourself & Your Home Ready For Your Discharge & Life After Knee Replacement Surgery
Before coming for surgery, you should make some slight modifications to your home so that you can have a comfortable and safe stay once you return from the hospital:
Taking Care Of The New Knee & Avoiding Complications
How Your New Knee Is Different
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