TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT
Knee arthroplasty is designed to replace your damaged knee joint with a replica artificial joint. The artificial joint used in knee surgery consists of high-grade plastic and metal components that are held in place by special bone cement.
Knee replacement procedures aim to relieve severe stiffness, pain and limitations in walking to ultimately improve the quality of your life. People who need knee replacement surgery usually have problems performing daily activities such as exercising, walking, climbing stairs and getting in and out of chairs and need pain medications to get through most days. Many also suffer from various types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis of the knee. And some experience knee pain even when at rest, especially at night.
In determining whether a knee arthroscopy is right for you, our knee specialists will assess your knee's range of motion, stability and strength and advise you on the best possible route. You can also read more about knee surgery in our article.
You can expect to have an improved quality of life with less pain and increased mobility.
Your range of movement should improve considerably but it is important to note that patients with very stiff knees regain less movement as a rule. Overall you should be able to exercise comfortably after joint replacements, especially after completing physical therapy sessions with a physical therapist.
As with most orthopaedic surgeries, a knee arthroplasty does carry some risk. During your consultation, your Cape Hip & Knee orthopaedic surgeon will discuss these with you and provide medical advice specific to your situation.
Some of the associated risks include:
- Blood clots in the leg vein or lungs.
- Nerve damage in the area where the implant is placed.
- Infection can occur around the wound or in the deeper tissue near the new knee joint. Most infections are treated with antibiotics, but a major infection near the prosthesis might require surgery to remove and replace the artificial knee joint.
- Pain and stiffness. A small percentage of patients may develop excessive scar tissue in the early post-op period. These patients may require a manipulation under anaesthetic at 6 weeks. Even fewer patients may experience a persistent painful joint which may last indefinitely.
The consensus among leading Cape Town knee surgeons is that with sensible use, the likelihood of the artificial joint lasting more than 10 years exceeds 95%. Keep in mind that any artificial joint will be subject to wear from daily use and its lifespan can be adversely affected when the knee joint is stressed with high-impact activities. Should components loosen, they can be replaced in a revision surgery. This is a more complex orthopaedic procedure with a marginally lower success rate than a total knee replacement.
At Cape Hip & Knee Practice, our patient care starts long before the actual surgery and continues way past the recovery room. It’s this approach that has helped us build a reputation as leading orthopaedic surgeons in Cape Town, South Africa. Feel free to discuss any concerns about your surgery, recovery (physical therapy), pain management (nerve block) and what to expect with your primary care team. You can also read more about our step-by-step process to assist you in getting prepared for your knee surgery.