Understanding Knee Replacement Surgery
What Is Knee Replacement?
The procedure involves the replacement of the surfaces of the knee joint that bear the weight of the body with prosthesis. A knee replacement can be partial, when only one of the three knee components is replaced, or it can be total, in which case all three knee components are replaced. Whether you have a partial or a total knee replacement, it is important to work with a highly skilled and experienced surgical team such as the team at Almater Hospital in Mexicali, Mexico.
How to Prepare for a Knee Replacement
Because of the complexity of knee arthroplasty, a patient should prepare with plenty of time in advance, usually a month. He or she will have to be evaluated by a specialist who will decide what type of tests should be taken. Typical tests include blood count, electrolytes, Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (APTT), Prothrombin time (PT), chest X-rays, Electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood cross matching in case there is the need to perform a blood transfusion.
To prevent complications, the patient’s blood has to have good coagulation. Therefore, supplemental iron is often prescribed, and anticoagulants and blood thinners such as warfarin and aspirin should not be taken for several days before the operation. These measurements reduce the amount of bleeding during the procedure.
Most patients also have to follow a specific exercise program. These typically include motions with the hip, knee and ankle. Only your doctor is qualified to tell you what movements you should perform and what movements you should avoid, although a physical therapist can help you follow your doctor’s instructions.
X-rays of the knee are needed, and they have to be extremely accurate. In some cases, they must be taken more than once. They will be used to measure the size of the prosthetic parts that will become part of the knee for the long term, so it’s important that they fit the bone structure as well as possible.
Typically, a patient who will go through a knee replacement must go to the hospital a couple of days before the surgery.
How Much Time Does a Knee Replacement Take?
The complete process, from the surgical consultation to the end of therapy, will typically last from 10 to 12 weeks. In some cases, it will last even longer and may require the temporary or permanent use of a walking aid, such as a cane, a frame or a crutch.
There are several risk factors associated with a knee replacement, although most patients make a complete recovery and regain mobility with their prosthetic knee joints.
- Infection of the joint
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Nerve injuries
- Loss of motion
Patients with obesity are especially vulnerable to complications. They are strongly advised to lose weight or even go through bariatric surgery before going through knee arthroplasty.
If you are considering getting a knee replacement, you should consult with a specialist about your specific needs and situation. Only he or she will be able to tell you if you’re a good candidate for the surgery, how to prepare for it, and what tests you will have to take.
answers to your questions and information about the typical costs,
please contact Almater Hospital for a professional consultation.