Orthopedics: Knee Replacement

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If you have chronic knee pain, find everyday tasks such as climbing stairs are difficult or aren’t getting relief from non-surgical knee treatments, it might be time to consult with your primary healthcare provider about knee replacement surgery (also called knee arthroplasty).

Who Needs Knee Replacement Surgery?

Normally, all of the components of your knee work together, but disease or injury can lead to pain, reduced function and weakness. Arthritis is the most common reason that people need knee replacement surgery, including:

• Osteoarthritis, which is caused when the cartilage on the ends of the bones wears down. Often, the bones rub against each other, causing pain and swelling. It’s most common in the joints of the knees, hips, hands, fingers, neck and spine, although it can affect any joint in the body.

• Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic condition that occurs when your body’s immune system begins to attack the joints. At first, rheumatoid arthritis usually only attacks a few joints, but over time it affects more.

What to Expect During Knee Replacement Surgery

If the arthritis is localized to one of the three compartments of the knee joint, partial knee replacement surgery is an option. Otherwise, a patient will need a total knee replacement. Generally, the long term outcome of a full knee replacement is better than that of a partial knee replacement in that the revision rate at 10 years for a partial knee replacement is two to three times as high as that of a full knee replacement. During knee replacement surgery, the orthopedic surgeon will remove damaged cartilage and bone; position metal implants; potentially resurface the kneecap (patella) and replace with a plastic prosthesis; and insert a spacer. The knee replacement procedure itself takes about 1 to 2 hours.

Many physicians and orthopedic surgeons advise patients to wait to have knee replacement surgery as long as possible, as the implant begins to wear in the plastic spacer over time. Activities such as running and jumping can speed up this process. The longer you can find relief with non-surgical knee treatments the better. Over 90% of total knee replacements are still functioning well 15 years after surgery. You can help ensure your knee replacement surgery is successful by following your healthcare team’s instructions after the procedure.

Talk to your rheumatologist if you'd like more information on knee replacement. 

Visit HealthChoicesFirst.com for more videos and resources on arthritis.

Print this Action Plan and check off items that you want to discuss with your healthcare provider

  • If you have chronic knee pain, find everyday tasks such as climbing stairs are difficult or aren’t getting relief from non-surgical knee treatments, it might be time to consult with your primary healthcare provider about knee replacement surgery.

  • Arthritis is the most common reason that people need knee replacement surgery, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

  • If the arthritis is localized to one of the three compartments of the knee joint, partial knee replacement surgery is an option. Otherwise, a patient will need a total knee replacement.

  • During knee replacement surgery, the orthopedic surgeon will remove damaged cartilage and bone; position metal implants; potentially resurface the kneecap (patella) and replace with a plastic prosthesis; and insert a spacer.

  • Many physicians and orthopedic surgeons or rheumatologists advise patients to wait to have knee replacement surgery as long as possible, as the implant begins to wear in the plastic spacer over time.

Adherence:
Adhering to your medications, prescribed exercises or lifestyle changes (such as dietary changes, smoking cessation, reduced alcohol consumption, etc.) is essential to improving health outcomes successfully. Compliance to any prescribed treatment is the number one thing you can do to ensure positive changes and optimal treatment outcomes.

Talk to your healthcare provider  or orthopedic Surgeon if you'd like more information on ankle injuries.

Visit HealthChoicesFirst.com for more videos and resources on orthopedics.

Whether you have a foot injury following a car accident or need ankle surgery because of rheumatoid arthritis, an orthopedic surgeon can help. Find local physiotherapist shealth care providers for more information on surgical orthopedic treatments.

Knee injuries are extremely common, and knee replacement surgery may be an option if you have a sports injury, arthritis or other condition. Find out knee replacement surgery risks, short and long term recovery info, movement and playing sports afterwards, and what you can expect after this type of knee surgery. Get the answers you need to take control of your health from our up-to-date, complementary knee replacement surgery resources.

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