Life After Knee Replacement Surgery

Most people over 65 years suffer from difficulties walking and knee pain with nearly 60% of people above 60 showing osteoarthritic changes in their bones including knees and radiological evidence of knee wear, says Dr Gaurav Rathore, Additional Director, Jaypee Hospital, Noida.

Osteoarthritis is the commonest condition to lead to knee problems in this age group with, rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic injuries, road accidents, sports injuries etc being the other common courses. These problems usually responds to medications and pain-killers but eventually this response becomes diminished with the quality of life of these patient gradually worsening due to pain and decreasing mobility. The deteriorating function and loss of ability to do activities or daily living necessitates knee replacement surgery in several of these individuals.

The evolution of modern medicine has paved way for tremendous improvements in knee replacement techniques with the introduction of newer and more effective techniques in knee replacement surgery. Knee replacement surgeries now rank among the most commonly performed surgeries and are widely established as one of the most important interventions in modern medicines which has improved lives of millions of patients in the past few decades. Noida has some of the best knee replacement surgeons in the world and has emerged as one of the top centres offering high class and latest techniques in Total Knee replacement. Compared to traditional knee replacement surgeries, modern minimally traumatic and enhanced recovery techniques lead to:

  • Less damage to the skin and surrounding muscle, ligaments, tendons and tissues.
  • Lesser blood loss during surgery.
  • Lesser post-operative pain.
  • Smaller scar and best cosmetic appearance
  • Usually no skin stitches which obviates the need for short follow up of patients coming from different towns and countries
  • Shorter hospital stays.
  • Accelerated recovery and physical therapy initiation.
  • Return to normal activities earlier.

The post operative recovery of Knee replacements has also undergone revolutionary changes and this has made the rehabilitation of patients to full potential smoother and quicker.

Severely arthritis patients can take up to 6 months and in some patients up to 18 months to achieve full potential and peak levels of activity.

  • Exercise: It is important to start walking as soon as possible. Ideally, the very next day of the surgery as recommended by your knee specialist. Physical therapists will help during the initial days to begin walking and exercising. A physical therapist is important as they can spot a problem in the knee early on and take measures to correct them. Usually, soon after surgery there are very few restrictions to your activity and with modern implants and techniques, most patients are expected to make a full functional recovery.
  • Medication: Taking medications prescribed by the knee surgeons is as important as the surgery itself.
  • Driving: Generally, patients can drive after 6 weeks of knee replacement surgeries, though patients should take a call about whether they are safe behind a wheel and they have full control). A surgery performed on the left knee, the patient can drive easily within 6 to 8 weeks on an automatic transmission while on the right leg would take a while longer. Placing a disabled placard on the vehicle will provide a safety measure for letting people know to be vigilant about your driving.
  • Return to work: Patients having a sedentary lifestyle, working on a computer can return to work within days to weeks whereas those who need to travel could take around 3 to 6 weeks before returning to work.
  • Travel: Compression stockings, periodic stretching, static exercises of flexion, extension and rotation will keep the knee comfortable during all kinds of travel. Several international patients who get operated travel back between 1-2 weeks of surgery though some may opt to stay for 6 weeks.
  • Sexual activities is generally fine to proceed after a brief pain-free period and is based on the patient’s comfort.
  • Household chores: Cooking, cleaning, washing and other tasks can be resumed usually within weeks of transplantation. Use of crutches initially helps patients to have independence and complete control of their activities.

A healthy diet, adequate exercise and proper weight management are three essential pillars for a successful knee replacement surgery. Some of the best knee surgeons located in Noida perform several surgeries a year making them an expert in their field. Getting the expert advice on the same will make the surgery a smooth process with better quality of life.

Dr. Gaurav Rathore
Department of Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement
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