Patients who are receiving a knee replacement will largely experience the same procedural steps for their replacement. While the cause behind the new knee replacement may differ slightly from patient to patient, the method of replacement will largely be the same for each patient. Patients should expect the operation to take approximately two hours with a Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon, followed by one to two hours more spent in a recovery room following the surgery.
Preparation of the Knee
During the procedure, the knee will be kept in a bent position in order to provide access to every component of it to the physician. This ensures that every surface of the joint is exposed, allowing the physician to examine them and make corrections during the procedure as needed.
After the incision has been made and the knee is opened, the physician will move the kneecap aside to expose the remaining joint tissue. Any damaged tissue is removed in order to have smooth surfaces on the joint. Once the surfaces have been smoothed, the artificial knee will be inserted and attached. The physician will then carefully take the knee through the full range of motion in order to test the functionality of the knee. Once satisfied that function has been restored, the incision will be closed.
The Recovery Process
Once the incision has been closed, patients are moved briefly to a recovery room. Following this, patients will be returned to their hospital room where they will remain for a number of days before discharge. There may be some pain experienced during this time, but will largely be prevented and controlled through the administration of medication.
Patients are encouraged to move their foot and ankle during their hospital stay in order to help increase blood flow to the muscles of the leg. This will help prevent swelling and lower the chance of blood clots forming. Some patients may receive blood thinners as part of their medication suite.
Physical Therapy following Surgery
Starting with the very first day following surgery, patients will need to adapt to a new physical therapy program in order to restore function to their knee. On the first day, a therapist will visit the patient and teach them the required exercises. Patients are much more likely to recover fully with high function of the knee if they adhere to the therapy program in addition to following instructions regarding diet and wound care.
Patients will follow the same general structure for their physical rehabilitation. Patients will be placed into a graduated walking program, where they will practice using their new knee first indoors then outdoors. This gradually restores mobility to the patient, allowing them to slowly return to normal activity once they are able to maneuver freely. Patients are strongly advised to follow the knee-strengthening exercises they are given for the best chance of obtaining full function of the artificial knee.
Knee Replacement Results
Many patients who receive a knee replacement with a knee surgeon Los Angeles trusts will see a significant reduction in their levels of pain, providing improved mobility and a higher life quality. Generally, patients will be able to return to normal levels of activity in approximately three months.