When you’re getting ready for a total knee replacement, you may be wondering what to expect before, during and after the procedure. While the overall procedure may be fairly consistent from one case to the next, each patient is different. If you have any concerns for your upcoming knee replacement surgery, be sure to speak to your doctor about them. If you’re simply just curious, want some peace of mind or are wondering if you are a candidate, you can start by asking a few of these questions.
What is the difference between partial and total knee replacement?
Knee replacement surgery is used to treat arthritis, trauma, overuse injuries, and connective tissue disorders. After a thorough examination, your doctor will determine the extent of the damage and may recommend either total or partial knee replacement.
If the knee has only degenerated in one compartment, your doctor will likely recommend a partial knee replacement. Total knee replacement is more invasive that partial knee replacement and doctors will recommend this for those with severe injury or damage due to deterioration.
What can I expect from a total knee replacement?
During a total knee replacement procedure, your orthopedic surgeon will remove the total damaged portion of the knee and replace it with a prosthetic joint, thereby getting rid of any part of the knee joint that is damaged or unhealthy. The artificial knee joint is now your official knee joint; it will function either the same as a real knee or even better once full mobility is gained.
What can I do before the surgery so it will be more successful for me?
It’s understandable that you want to do everything in your power to have a positive and successful operation. Asking your doctor what you can do may be able to give you the little bit of control that you need to put your mind some satisfaction. Ask if there are any exercises to strengthen your muscles, any activities that you should avoid, such as smoking, drinking or physical activities.
Are there risks or impediments of the surgery?
This may a burning question in your mind and rightfully so. Your doctor will do everything in his power to ensure that you have a successful procedure and a speedy recovery. With any surgery, however, there are always risks, some of which arise thanks to pre-existing medical problems, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Other risks are that the joint doesn’t settle properly, although this is highly rare. Then, of course, you can run the risk of infection, which can occur with any invasive procedure. Your doctor should inform you of anything of concern.
What is the average success rate?
Knee replacement surgery provides claims a highly impressive 90-95% success rate, and most knee replacements last up to 15 years or longer.
What will my surgery cost?
If you haven’t discussed this with your doctor yet, it’s in your best interest to ask now. Cost is one of the main concerns patients have when undergoing surgery. If you have insurance, ensure your procedure is pre-authorized and all the medical specialists – as well as the hospital or surgical center – are within your plan. If you are not insured, you may have to pay completely out of pocket, and surgeries can be extremely expensive. Discuss your payment options with your doctor or state or veteran’s health office.
What kind of recovery can I expect?
Recovery timelines for patients who undergo total or partial knee replacement remain for the most part quite consistent, with complete range of motion usually within two weeks of surgery. Of course, you will need to follow your doctor’s direction and will likely participate in a course of physical therapy.
Pain management – to include injections to reduce swelling and physical therapy – as well as pain medication are good first steps to try to heal the knee. However, when non-invasive courses of action are exhausted, it may be time to talk to your orthopedist about a knee replacement. Dr. Bill Hefley and his caring staff are devoted to treating a broad range of conditions affecting the shoulder, hip, and knee, both operatively and non-operatively. If you have any questions about knee replacement or any other orthopedic concerns, please contact us to schedule an appointment. You can call (800) 336-2412 or simply use our online request form.