Total knee replacements are one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. More than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States. It can help relieve pain and restore motion and function in severely damaged knee joints. During knee replacement surgery, the damaged cartilage is removed from femur (thighbone), tibia (shinbone) and patella (kneecap) and replaced with an artificial joint made of metal titanium alloys, medical grade plastics and polymers.
Arthritis is the most common cause of chronic knee pain. There are different types of arthritis. More common are: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is an age-related wear and tear type of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis and inflammation is the cause of damage. Post-traumatic arthritis follows knee injuries like fractures and cartilage and ligament damage.
Physical therapy is the mainstay of treatment after the operation. It starts the next day after operation and continues as outpatient therapy afterward until functional range of motion and strength of knee are restored. We use ‘multimodal pain control model’ for pain management after the operation. It’s very important to control the pain while rehabbing the knee so that knee functions are smoothly restored. After operation, other than pain medications, blood thinners are also prescribed to prevent the blood clots.
Based on scientific data, more than 90% of patients feel dramatic pain reduction and great improvement in performing daily activities after total knee replacement. I feel these operations are quality of life operations and patients decide to undergo knee replacement when they feel their quality of life is compromised because of knee pain and dysfunction.