When it comes to orthopedic surgery, one of the most common types is joint replacement. This includes replacing certain joints in the body, such as the knee. If you are having trouble with one or both of your knees and you are wondering about your treatment options, you may be considering knee replacement surgery.
In order to help you know more about this procedure, here are the answers to three frequently asked questions when it comes to knee replacement surgery.
1. Can I Avoid Knee Replacement Surgery?
Oftentimes, physicians and surgeons will only recommend knee replacement surgery as a last resort. This means you will have tried other treatment options including over-the-counter pain medication, injections, physical therapy treatment, and arthrocentesis, which is done to remove fluid from the knee.
Sometimes knee pain happens because the joint is bearing too much weight. Some people have been able to lose weight in order to avoid surgery. For others, however, no matter what they do, they still experience pain, swelling, and cracking noises in their knee. If nothing else has helped you, and your symptoms are interfering with your ability to work or do other activities, it may be time for knee replacement surgery.
2. What Happens During Knee Replacement Surgery?
This type of surgery typically lasts about two hours. During the procedure, an orthopedic surgeon will make an incision up to 10 inches long. The surgeon will then move the kneecap, cut away any damaged parts of the joint, and attach an artificial joint. You'll then be taken to a recovery room where you will stay for up to two hours.
Following the surgery, you will need to undergo physical therapy treatment so a physical therapist can tell you what kind of exercises to do. In most cases, an artificial knee joint usually lasts more than 15 years.
3. How Long Will the Pain Last After Surgery?
Any kind of surgery will cause the body to feel pain and knee replacement surgery is no different. Normally, the shorter the procedure, the less pain you will have following the surgery. You will need to use crutches or a walker following surgery, but you will still need to do your exercises.
Even though this will cause discomfort, it's imperative to keep your artificial knee moving so that you can improve its function. In most cases, it will take up to three months following knee replacement surgery for the pain and swelling to completely subside.