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Joint and Spine Center
What is knee replacement?
Who should have a knee replacement?
Is there an alternative to knee replacement?
Should my knee replacement be cemented?
How long is the hospital stay?
How long is recuperation?
Will I need a blood transfusion?
What is the success rate?
Are there complications?
What about pain?
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.
When arthritis-related knee pain severely limits your ability to walk, work, or perform even simple activities, knee replacement should be considered.
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.
Knee replacements are successfully performed with cemented components as well as with uncemented components. Your surgeon will discuss which technique is best for your specific situation.
The average hospital stay for a knee replacement patient is around 3 days. The average stay for two knees is 5-7 days.
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.
Recovery varies with each person. You will use a walker as your physical therapy starts and are allowed to progress at your own pace. You can drive a car in 2-4 weeks. Most patients gradually increase their activities and resume activities such as golf, doubles tennis, shuffleboard, or bowling within 12 weeks. More active sports, such as singles tennis and jogging are not recommended.
The need for blood transfusions after knee replacement surgery depends greatly on very individualized factors. The majority of knee replacement patients do not require a transfusion after surgery, but you should be prepared to receive one if your doctor thinks that it is medically necessary. If you have concerns about blood transfusion, you should discuss them with your surgeon.
Knee replacement has an outstanding track record. Most knee replacements successfully relieve the pain of arthritis for 15-20 years, depending on circumstances.
As with any surgery, there is a risk of complications after knee replacement surgery. However, they are quite rare.
Thanks to advances in medication technology, we are able to keep you very comfortable after surgery. After surgery, any temporary discomfort does not compare to the pain of arthritis endured by most people in months and years before surgery.