Myths and Realities about Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement surgery is considered to be a successful treatment option for osteoarthritis. There are over 600,000 knee replacement surgical procedures in the US per year estimated to grow to 4 million procedures per year by 2030. In India, it is estimated that knee replacement procedures are growing by 15% year on year.  However, in spite of this, there are still many myths about joint replacement surgery. Some common myths are listed below:

Myth No. 1:

“My knee after replacement surgery will feel artificial and not natural.”

Reality: There have been many technological advances in implants over the years. There are knee implants available today, which come in many different sizes specially tailored for the Indian patient to ensure that the patient receives a close fit.

Myth No. 2:

“My knee won’t bend properly after the surgery”

Reality: The ease and the degree to which the patient can bend his/her knee post-surgery depends on several factors such as the quality of the surgery, the post-surgery rehab regime and the quality of the artificial implant. Studies also suggest that post-operative knee bend is related to the degree of flexion the patient was able to achieve prior to surgery. High flexion implants today enable the patient to achieve over 110 degrees of flexion facilitating squatting, praying and a range of other tasks.

Regular exercise and low impact activities such as walking, swimming and cycling are not only feasible but a must post-surgery. The website’s real life success stories showcase examples of patients playing tennis and running marathons as well.

Myth No. 3:

“I am in my 40s and am too young for surgery”

Reality: Osteoarthritis is increasingly being diagnosed amongst younger populations. For younger patients, it is a common fear that they may have to go in for a repeat surgery again when the implant wears out. However, there have been many advancements in implant designs increasing their longevity and durability considerably reducing the need for a repeat surgery.  

Myth No. 4:

“Surgery is the absolute last option and I should wait as long as possible.”

Reality: Delaying surgery unreasonably may significantly decrease the quality of life of a patient, who feels chronic moderate to severe pain and is unable to move. Osteoarthritis is degenerative implying that the more the joint gets diseased, the harder it will be to resume daily life post-surgery as well.