Knee replacement surgery is a common surgical procedure done by millions each year to help their mobility and pain.
Many patients try injections, physical therapy, exercise and medicine to no avail until they have no other option than the surgery. The good news is that most people say they are happy with the outcome when they can freely move their legs to simply walk or climb stairs again.
A knee replacement is done by an orthopedic surgeon who takes out the "bad" knee and puts in an artificial joint usually made from plastic or metal. It is attached with acrylic cement to the shin, thigh bone and kneecap. This is a total knee replacement.
Other options include a partial knee replacement meaning there is a smaller cut, a kneecap replacement where only the surface under the kneecap is replaced and a complex knee replacement where multiple surgeries have been done and a revision needs to be surgically performed.
There are many different types of reasons patients need knee replacement surgery. Those with osteoarthritis that eat away at the lining of the knee are the most common patients. The breaking away of the cartilage from arthritis creates a high level of pain and lack of mobility.
People with bowed legs often get the surgery to help the condition. Other patients include those with knee injuries that have resulted in arthritis over the years or torn ligaments that lead to lack of mobility.
Pros and Cons
Most patients say the best thing about a knee replacement is that their joints are able to freely move letting them have their mobility back in their leg. They can be active without fear of pain and do things they did before their knee hurt.
Treatment is not a long process as patients are usually back on their feet in a few months. They will have to walk with crutches for those months, but after that they should be able to return to normal life. Patients will spend a few days in the hospital before they can begin the journey to being back on their own two feet.
Many patients choose to wait for the surgery because knee replacements are not built to last forever. Today's knee replacements will usually last about 20 years, but most patients do have to get another implant. It's a common procedure so doctors are finding new ways to do it each year, but at this time an implant will not last a few decades.