Total Knee Replacement

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What is Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement is a medical treatment for knee joints affected by arthritis or joint inflammation. This procedure is also known as arthroplasty.

The joints and kneecaps that have decreased in function are removed and replaced with artificial knee joints. In general, these artificial knee joints are made of plastic or metal.

Purposes of Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement is performed in order to reduce pain in the injured knee joint. The pain comes from the joints that bump into each other and makes it difficult to move.

After the removal of the knee joint that has lost its function and replacement with the artificial knee joint, it is expected that the knee joint’s function will return to normal. 

The following are some health conditions that typically require a total knee replacement:

Osteoarthritis 

Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis, especially in patients who are over 50 years. As you age, the cartilage in your knee becomes weaker.

The function of cartilage as a thinning joint bearing may increase the probability of bones rubbing together. This may then trigger pain, stiffness, and even swelling.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of joint inflammation caused by a weakened immune system. Your immune system fights off harmful foreign substances.

However, due to a weakened immune system, inflammation occurs where it should not, such as a joint. This condition is called rheumatoid arthritis.

The trigger of rheumatoid arthritis is a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as smoking habits. 

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of arthritis caused by a severe knee injury. As a result, it affects the function of the joint bearing.

Apart from the three types of arthritis above, a total knee replacement is also required if you suffer from any of the following medical conditions: 

  • Painful and stiff knee joints that affect your daily activities, such as walking, climbing downstairs, and standing up from a sitting position.
  • Persistent mild to moderate knee joint pain. You may feel it during sleep. 
  • Inflamed and swollen knee joint that does not improve after resting and taking medications
  • Deformity in the knee joint

Treatment Cost for Total Knee Replacement

Treatment cost for total knee replacement may vary greatly, depending on how many knees are operated on, the additional tests based on your condition, and your choice of hospital. 

For more details regarding the estimated treatment cost, doctor’s recommendations, and making appointments with doctors at home and abroad, contact Smarter Health.

Pre-Total Knee Replacement

As with any medical surgery, you will be asked to sign a consent form before the surgery takes place. At this stage, you can ask questions about the surgery.

Your medical history will also be recorded along with current medications that you consume. Be sure to inform your doctor if you are allergic or sensitive to certain medications, bandages, latex materials, or anesthetics. 

Other tests to monitor your health condition before surgery may also be performed, such as blood tests. From these tests, your doctor will likely suggest other preparations you need to do based on your health condition.

You will also be asked not to eat and drink for about 8 hours before surgery.

During Total Knee Replacement

This surgery will be performed under general anesthesia – you will remain unconscious during the procedure. The procedure will take approximately 60-90 minutes.

Your healthcare team will install an IV tube and a urinary catheter. If necessary, your doctor will also shave your hair so it does not interfere with the procedure. 

After cleaning your knee with an antiseptic solution, your doctor will make an incision to remove the damaged knee joint and replace it with an artificial joint. After the artificial joint has been attached, the incision will then be sutured/stitched. 

The suture will be fitted with a flexible tube to drain fluids and covered with a bandage. During the surgery, your heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and oxygen levels in the blood will be monitored. 

Post-Total Knee Replacement

After the surgery is complete, you will need to be hospitalized for 3-5 days. However, the recovery process may take longer and you need to do several things to maintain the knee joint.

In general, you will be given walking aids such as crutches. Your doctor will also recommend simple exercises and things that need to be avoided to speed up your recovery process.

You will be able to walk normally at 6 weeks after surgery. However, the complete recovery process can take up to 2 years.

Risks of Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement is fairly common and is a relatively safe medical procedure. However, as with any medical procedure, there is a risk of complications that may arise from total knee replacement surgery.

Here are some risks of complications that may arise:

  • Bleeding
  • Knee infection
  • Split in the bone when your knee replacement is inserted
  • Blood clots in deep veins
  • Damage to nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, or tendons
  • Wear and loosening of the artificial knee joint
  • Fractures
  • Persistent knee pain or stiffness

If the artificial knee joint feels loose or does not work as it should, you will need to undergo further surgery and be given a new artificial knee joint.

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