The knees are hinge joints that provide movement and friction. When this vital function is damaged, surgical intervention is necessary. An artificial joint that replaces the damaged bone and cartilage is created. This procedure is called knee replacement surgery and it is one of the most common orthopedic surgeries.
When is this Surgery Necessary?
Knee replacement surgery is apt for patients who experience severe and prolonged pain when walking, climbing stairs, getting up, sitting down, or even at rest. This surgery is also suitable for people with bowed legs or for patients who have not responded to other treatments, like cortisone injections.
During the procedure, the end of the femur is removed and is replaced with a metal cover. The end of the lower leg bone, known as the tibia, is also removed and replaced with a piece of plastic fitted with a metal shank.
Are there Risks or Complications?
90% of patients reported a drastic pain reduction and improvement in mobility. However, this surgery is not for everyone. The risks of knee replacement surgery include:
- Blood clots in the legs that can shift to the lungs.
- Infection, nausea, and vomiting, which is usually caused by the prescribed analgesics.
- Chronic pain and stiffness in the knee.
- Knee hemorrhage, nerve damage, or injury to blood vessels.
- Additionally, the risks of anesthesia include potential damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver.
Each patient is unique, but your surgeon will probably not recommend running a marathon. Instead, it is important to understand the type and extent of the damage caused to the bones, cartilage, and ligaments, as well as your pain, in order to choose a treatment plan.