Total Knee Replacement
A knee replacement (also called knee arthroplasty) might be more accurately termed a knee "resurfacing" because only the bones' surface is replaced. Joint replacement surgery is one of the most successful option to treat osteoarthritis. It is a safe and effective procedure to relieve pain, correct leg deformity, and help you resume normal activities. More than 90% of people who have undergone a total knee replacement surgery experienced a dramatic reduction in knee pain and a significant improvement in performing common daily living activities.
What happens during the procedure?
Knee replacement surgery is performed under anaesthesia. Your input and preference help the team decide whether to use general anaesthesia, which makes you unconscious or spinal anaesthesia, which leaves you awake but unable to feel pain from your waist down. During the procedure, the surgeon will remove bone and diseased cartilage from where your thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) meet at your knee joint. Those surfaces are then replaced with a metal implant.
The patient spends a couple of nights in the hospital. During the hospital stay, you will be given antibiotics and pain-relieving medication and monitor you for complications. Shortly after the operation, a physical therapist will start helping with, weight-bearing therapy, including standing and walking, a combination of physical and occupational therapy to help you adapt to your new knee.
When you can perform certain tasks, such as getting out of bed alone and using the bathroom, you will be able to go home. You will need to continue the physical therapy at home, and you may need to use a cane or walker for a short period after your operation.
Bilateral Knee Replacement
In bilateral or double knee replacement surgery, the surgeon replaces both knees at the same time. If you have osteoarthritis in both knees, this can be a good option; it means you only have to go through the procedure and recovery process once.
Double knee replacement surgery may involve one surgery or two surgeries. When both knees are replaced simultaneously, the surgery is known as simultaneous bilateral knee replacement. When each knee is replaced at different time, its called staged bilateral knee replacement.
The primary advantage of a simultaneous procedure is that there are only one hospital stay and one rehabilitation period to heal both knees; thus, the treatment's total cost is also reduced. However, it's not recommended for those with heart disease or lung diseases as the surgery time last longer with more blood loss and requires heavier doses of anaesthesia.
In a staged bilateral knee replacement, both knees are replaced in two separate surgeries. These surgeries are done a few months apart. A staged procedure's main advantage is the reduced risk of complication; it also requires a shorter hospital stay. However, since this procedure requires two surgeries, the overall rehabilitation period can be much longer. This may delay your return to some of your daily activities, increasing the treatment's overall cost.
You should resume most everyday activities within around 3 months; you can drive again usually 4-6 weeks after surgery. It's important to follow your exercise and rehab program without overexerting yourself. Most people with sedentary employment can return to work after 4-6 weeks, but if your job involves heavy lifting, you may need to wait 3 months to resume work. It can take 6-12 months to get back to full activity levels.