Total Knee Replacement
If your knee is severely damaged by arthritis or injury, it may be hard for you to perform simple activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. You may even begin to feel pain while you are sitting or lying down. If nonsurgical treatments like medications, injections, and walking supports are no longer helpful, you may want to consider total knee replacement surgery. Joint replacement surgery is a safe and effective procedure to relieve pain, correct leg deformity, and help you resume normal activities.
WHEN SURGERY is RECOMMENDED: There are several reasons why Dr. Antebi or Dr. Sherfey may recommend knee replacement surgery. People who benefit from total knee replacement often have:
- Severe knee pain or stiffness that limits your everyday activities
- Moderate or severe knee pain while resting, either day or night
- Chronic knee inflammation and swelling that does not improve with rest or medications
- Knee deformity — a bowing in or out of your knee
- Inadequate pain relief from anti-inflammatory medications, injections, or physical therapy
CANDIDATES for SURGERY: There are no absolute age or weight restrictions for total knee replacement surgery.
Recommendations for surgery are based on a patient’s pain and disability, not age. Most patients who undergo total knee replacement are age 50 to 80, but Orthopedic surgeons evaluate patients individually. Total knee replacements have been performed successfully at all ages, from the young teenager with juvenile arthritis to the elderly patient with degenerative arthritis.
HOW YOUR NEW KNEE is DIFFERENT: Improvement of knee motion is a goal of total knee replacement, but the restoration of full motion is uncommon. The motion of your knee replacement after surgery can be predicted by the range of motion you have in your knee before surgery. Most patients can expect to be able to almost fully straighten the replaced knee and to bend the knee sufficiently to climb stairs and get in and out of a car. Kneeling is sometimes uncomfortable, but it is not harmful.
Most people feel some numbness in the skin around your incision. You also may feel some stiffness, particularly with excessive bending activities. Most people also feel or hear some clicking of the metal and plastic with knee bending or walking. This is normal. These differences often diminish with time and most patients find them to be tolerable when compared with the pain and limited function they experienced prior to surgery.
EXTENDING the LIFE of YOUR KNEE IMPLANT: Currently, more than 90% of modern total knee replacements are still functioning well over 15 years after the surgery. Follow your surgeon’s instructions after surgery to take care and protect your new knee replacement. After surgery, make sure you participate in regular light exercise programs to maintain proper strength and mobility of your new knee. Take special precautions to avoid falls and injuries. If you break a bone in your leg, you may require more surgery. See Dr. Antebi or Dr. Sherfey periodically for a routine follow-up examination and x-rays, usually once a year.