When performing the surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will remove the damaged parts of the knee joint, and use prosthetic implants to replace them. Surgical bone cement will be used to attach the prosthetic components to the bone. The distal end of the femur, and the proximal end of the tibia will both be replaced with metal components, and a plastic insert will be used between them to recreate the joint space and assist in lubrication between the surfaces.
Before you decide to undergo a knee replacement surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will perform an evaluation to check that it is the best option for you, and that you are a suitable candidate for the procedure. The procedure takes approximately two hours, and your surgeon will explain the details of the surgery to you before it is scheduled. It is important to note that post-operative rehabilitation is a very important part of the process of recovery.
After the surgery is complete, it is quite likely that you will need to see a physiotherapist. He or she will help you to understand any limitations or precautions you need to take while you recover. You will be discharged once you are able to flex your new knee to 90 degrees, and you are able to manage stairs with crutches, most often within 3-5 days of the procedure. After the surgery, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for 24 hours – this is to decrease the risk of infection. You will also be given some pain medication directly after the procedure in order to relieve any discomfort. Precautions will be taken to prevent the formation of blood clots within your veins – Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
It is important to remember that it can take time for you to properly recover from your surgery, and you will not be fully mobile immediately after the procedure is complete. It is essential that you give yourself adequate time to heal properly. Your recovery time will depend very much on how severe your symptoms were before the procedure. Your doctor will advise you on the best recovery plan for your unique needs.