If you’ve been told that you are going to need knee replacement surgery, then you likely have numerous questions regarding the process, the healing, and what comes next. Here are a few of the questions regarding knee replacement surgery that we get asked the most:
Can I avoid surgery?
Most providers will suggest various, non-surgical treatments before recommending a total knee replacement. These treatments may include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, injection therapy, weight loss (where appropriate), or various other alternative methods. Prolonging a knee replacement surgery can often lead to excess damage which could further complicate your total knee replacement, so always talk to your provider before starting any non-surgical treatments.
When should I undergo my knee replacement surgery?
This is a difficult question to answer, since it is very personal, depending on each patient’s situation. There is no precise way of saying when the right time to get a knee replacement is, but the deciding factor for most people comes down to pain. Talk to your provider and get a full examination and recommendations regarding how to handle the pain you are experiencing. If you’ve done all you can and the pain is still too much to handle, it is time to talk to your provider about the next steps regarding your knee replacement.
What can I expect during and after my surgery?
The knee replacement surgery itself requires an incision (usually around 6”-10” in length). During this procedure, your knee-cap will be moved to the side, the damaged cartilage and a small portion of bone will be removed, and the new metal/plastic components will be securely fastened. These new components will imitate the natural movement of your knee. The surgery itself usually takes around 60-90 minutes to complete.
Following surgery, you may experience some discomfort, and your provider and healthcare team will work to provide you with the necessary local anesthesia and medications to help you cope with this effectively. Most people are able to walk with the assistance of crutches or a walker within just 24 hours of a surgery, and most people can be discharged from the hospital within just a few days. For the next several weeks you will work with a physical therapy team to help facilitate healing and improved functionality of your new knee. Most people recover within just a few months, up to six months depending on each specific patient. Your provider can help determine how long it will take to return to normal activities, and most knee replacements will last up to 25 years.
If you are considering knee replacement surgery, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your provider to see what’s right for you. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Nelson, call us at 435-774-8511.