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Common Questions about Total Knee Replacements

  • Category: In The News
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  • Written By: Laura Hanzo, Communications Specialist
Common Questions about Total Knee Replacements

Why is my doctor recommending knee replacement surgery?

If you are experiencing any of the following, you may benefit from a total knee replacement:

  • Severe knee pain or stiffness, making it difficult to do everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs. You may even need to use a cane or walker.
  • Moderate or severe knee pain while resting during the day or night
  • Chronic inflammation and swelling in your knee that does not improve with rest or medications
  • A knee that bows in or out
  • No relief or improvement from non-surgical treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, lubricating injections, physical therapy or other surgeries.

How is a total knee replacement performed?

A knee replacement (also called knee arthroplasty) is a procedure that involves replacing the cartilage surfaces of the femur and tibia, the bones which make up the knee. The surgeon performs this procedure in 4 steps:

  1. Prepares the bone by removing the damaged cartilage surfaces of the femur and tibia, as well as a small amount of the underlying bone.
  2. Positions the metal implants where the cartilage and bone were removed to recreate the surface of the joint.
  3. Resurfaces the patella (kneecap) by removing the undersurface and replacing with a plastic button. Depending on the case, some surgeons do not resurface the patella.
  4. Inserts a medical-grade plastic spacer between the metal components. This creates a smooth surface allowing the knee to glide easily.

North Oaks Orthopaedic Specialty Center surgeons Drs. Vince Lands, Robert McAfee and Patrick Barousse utilize the ROSA® Knee robotic system to assist them in performing knee replacements. Benefits of this include less pain, better outcomes and quicker recoveries for patients.

What is the ROSA® Knee robotic system?

ROSA®, which stands for Robotic Surgical Assistant, aids our surgeons in providing the most precise alignment for new knee joints. Our surgeons have full control of the procedure. Your new knee joint is personalized to you through utilizing ROSA®’s computer and software technology.

Are all total knee replacements performed as an outpatient procedure?

Most total knee replacement procedures at North Oaks are done on an outpatient basis. However, depending on your medical history and individual situation, your surgeon may require you to stay overnight for observation and healing.

How long is the procedure?

Typically, the procedure takes 1-2 hours.

After surgery, you will move to the recovery room where we monitor you for a few hours as you recover from the anesthesia. Once you’re awake and evaluated, you will begin the discharge process, or be admitted for an overnight stay.

What is the recovery time?

You should be able to resume most of your normal activities about 3-6 weeks after your surgery. Driving may not be allowed until 4-6 weeks after, or whenever you can bend your knee enough to get in and out of a vehicle and can adequately brake and accelerate.

It is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions at home after surgery, including properly caring for your incision, eating a balanced diet and following your prescribed physical therapy and exercise plans. It is vital to attend your physical therapy sessions and follow-up appointments as scheduled to ensure a successful recovery.

Is total knee replacement painful?

As a natural part of the healing process, you will feel some pain after surgery. Your health care team will work with you to manage your pain. Medications are commonly prescribed for short-term pain relief after surgery, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), acetaminophen and local anesthetics. Your surgeon may use one or a combination of some of these medications.

How long does a total knee replacement last?

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery reports that more than 90% of modern total knee replacements are still functioning well 15 years after surgery.

Much like the importance of following instructions after surgery for the procedure to be a success, following your surgeon’s instructions to care for and protect your knee replacement and your overall health are important to the life of your implant.

Find out if total knee replacement is right for you.  To schedule an appointment, please call (985) 275-9052 or click here to request an appointment online.