Knee Replacement Surgery FAQs

There are a lot of questions in the mind of an individual who is going to undergo knee replacement surgery.  Some of the frequently asked questions and answers on knee surgery are listed below:

Who is a good candidate for a knee replacement?

A knee replacement is usually prescribed by an orthopedic surgeon when the patient has severe knee arthritis, which causes pain and limits mobility despite rest, medication and different supports and braces. It is a good idea to keep a check on the level of pain the patient is feeling and how mobile he/she is to understand whether the arthritis is deteriorating. If the patient is mobile and only suffers from mild pain, a knee replacement may not be the appropriate option.

Is there any correct age for knee replacement surgery?

The current trend is that more and more, younger patients are being diagnosed with osteoarthritis and recommended knee replacement surgery. This is because both, the longevity as well as the durability and flexibility of implants have improved significantly allowing younger patients to get back to life without the fear of a repeat surgery. The candidature for knee replacement surgery is assessed based on need and not age.

What is the recovery period post-surgery?

Recovery rates differ from patient to patient depending on a multitude of factors like age, post-surgery physiotherapy program, surgical technique, implant used etc. In the initial few weeks itself, post-surgery, the patient will be able to walk outside the house with the use of a support while walking inside the house without any support. Many patients return to their jobs within 1 month if the work is not strenuous in nature such as a desk job. However, if the job requires more activity and movement, it may take up to 3 months to return to it full-time.  It is important to have a conversation regarding the patient’s return to work with the orthopedic surgeon.

How long does the patient have to take pain killers?

On an average, a total knee replacement patient may have to take some pain medication for approximately 6 to 12 weeks. The medicine prescribed is likely to be strong initially. However, the orthopedic surgeon is likely to reduce the dosage gradually as pain symptoms decrease over time.

What activities are permitted following surgery?

Total knee replacement patients are able to do most activities post-surgery and essentially resume their pre-surgery daily routines. Many patients walk, jog, dance, swim, play sports like tennis etc. An orthopedic surgeon will be able to best guide the patient on his/her activity regimens and limitations. The website showcases many such stories of post-surgery patients who have regained life after surgery.

How long does the actual total knee replacement surgical procedure last?

A typical total knee replacement procedure takes about two hours from the time the patient is brought into the operating room to when he/she is returned to the recovery room. However operating times differ from case to case and it is best to check with the orthopedic surgeon on the duration of the specific patient’s procedure.

What are the risks associated with the surgery?

The risks for a total knee replacement surgery can be explained in detail by an orthopedic surgeon. However, some common risks are infection, damage to blood vessels or nerves, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus. Implant failure or loosening of the implant may also occur and necessitate another surgery.

How many years does the surgery last?

Over 90% of knee replacements are fully functional up to 15 years. Technological advances in implants and surgical techniques mean that this number may be significantly higher.