Knee Replacement - Frequently Asked Questions
What is knee replacement?
It is a metal and plastic covering for raw, arthritic bone ends. It replaces cartilage that has worn away over the years. Knee replacement can eliminate pain and allow you to move easily with less discomfort. For those that have become bow-legged or knock-kneed over the years, it can also straighten your legs to a more natural position.
Is there an alternative to knee replacement?
Knee replacement is only recommended after careful diagnosis of your joint problem. Arthroscopic or microscopic surgery is not helpful once arthritis is advanced. Also, it is not likely that anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone injections will give you the same long term relief that knee replacement will.
Should my knee replacement be cemented?
Knee replacements are successfully performed with all cemented components as well as with a combination of uncemented and cemented components. Your surgeon will discuss which technique is best for you.
How long is the hospital stay?
The average hospital stay for a knee replacement patient is around 3–5 days. The average stay for two knees is 5–7 days. If both knees require replacement, it is usually best to have both done at the same time. That way, the total disability will be only slightly longer than the operation for one knee and the problem will be solved in the least amount of time.
In some cases, fixing one knee reduces the stress on the other knee, thus giving another two or three years if the arthritis is not too advanced. Each individual case is different.
How long is recuperation?
Recovery varies with each person. You will use a walker for approximately 4 weeks after the operation. You can drive a car in 2–4 weeks. Most people gradually increase their activities and play golf, doubles tennis, shuffleboard, or bowl in 12 weeks. More active sports, such as singles tennis and jogging are not recommended.
After discharge, there is usually no need for a nursing home. Some patients who live alone may require a short stay at a rehab center for a few days after they leave the hospital. This will depend on how you progress in the hospital, and keep in mind that healing and recovery times vary with each person.
What is the success rate?
Knee replacement surgery is recognized as a miracle of modern surgery. Most orthopedic experts consider replacement to be the best method of handling arthritis in the knee. Knee replacements have literally put hundreds of thousands of Americans back on their feet and allowed them to enjoy their golden years.