You and your doctor have decided that the pain in your knee has gotten so severe that non-surgical management has not been helping. By replacing the joint surfaces of the knee, the arthritis and its associated pain will be taken away, and you will be able to move better.
The knee is a joint made up of three bones: the femur (thigh bone), tibia (leg bone) and patella (kneecap). They both have joint surfaces that meet each other, and will be replaced. The actual replacement involves cutting off the diseased bone and putting metal in its place with plastic. This allows the sliding surfaces of the joint to work more efficiently, without pain.
Some patients have preoperative deformity (misshapen bones), and some have less range of motion. The goal of surgery is to restore (as best as possible) a normal and functional range of motion without pain. It is more than reasonable to expect to be able to do the normal activities of your life, without any pain or discomfort. Most patients may look forward to activities such as swimming, walking, hiking, golfing and recreational biking.
Before surgery, you will have a medical evaluation by your family doctor. You will also be seen by an anesthesiologist at the hospital, who will decide the best form of anesthesia for you. After surgery, your pain will be controlled by intravenous as well as oral medications. You will have physical therapy the day after (sometimes even the day of) surgery. Your blood count will be monitored and you might need a transfusion. You will also be given blood thinners for approximately 30 days to prevent blood clot formation. Approximately three days after surgery you will be discharged home or to a rehabilitation facility. You will see Dr. Goodman two weeks after surgery and then have regularly scheduled appointments to follow up with examinations and X-rays.
Most patients are back to their normal activities of daily living 4 to 6 weeks after surgery, and are walking normally and pain free after 4 to 6 months.
Any surgery does pose some risk, and knee replacement is no exception. The risks of this surgery include bleeding (often requiring transfusion), infection (possibly even requiring multiple surgeries to replace the metal), deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), incomplete relief of pain, need for further surgery, less motion (stiffness), intraoperative or post operative fractures near the prosthesis, heart attack, medical problems and anesthetic risks. Preoperative sickness (such as diabetes, kidney disease or decreased blood flow) raises the chances of complications. Smoking is one of the biggest reasons for problems after surgery.
Knee replacement surgery is widely accepted as one of the most successful surgical procedures, and is very good at relieving pain and restoring function. Dr. Goodman is committed to getting you the best result possible, and looks forward to partnering with you to achieve these goals.
For more information: Patient Information about Knee Replacement