Knee Replacement Santa Rosa, CA
Am I a candidate for knee replacement surgery?
The need for knee replacement is often one of quality of life. In patients where their pain is severe, or if their quality of life is being significantly impeded, replacing a knee damaged by osteoarthritis can dramatically improve their quality of life. Patients with severe degeneration of the knee joint may be unable to do normal activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. The knee may be prone to swelling or may give way at times because the joint has become unstable. Replacement surgery is usually a last resort of sorts, after trying more conservative treatments such as physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, viscosupplementation injections, or even weight loss for obese patients.
What are the risks associated with knee replacement surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, there are inherent risks such as bleeding, infection, developing blood clots in the legs or the lungs, nerve damage, and other issues.
For knee replacement, there is a risk that the artificial knee won’t function as hoped. Range of motion may be difficult to regain, and it can involve difficult physical therapy. The new knee joint may become loose or even dislodged. If blood vessels or nerves in the area are injured, this can create numbness or weakness in the area.
Generally, however, this is a successful surgery. The number of knee replacements in the U.S. has basically doubled in the past decade to over 600,000 per year, enabling people to remain active as they get older.
Is it normal to experience pain after knee replacement?
There will be some pain after your surgery, but this should diminish quickly, usually within 4-5 days. As for longer-term pain, that is variable by the patient. Knee replacement should dramatically decrease the pain you were experiencing, but there may be some knee pain for up to a year after your surgery. Your commitment to physical therapy and lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on your post-surgery pain and the overall success of your new knee.
When can I drive after having a knee replacement?
If you’ve had surgery on your right knee, you shouldn’t drive for at least one month after your surgery. At that point, you can return to driving when you feel comfortable, but it may take up to eight weeks. If you have an automatic transmission and your left knee was replaced, your timeframe is shorter.
When can I begin exercising again?
You’ll be able to begin walking and bathing within several days. Low-impact exercise can resume in 6-12 weeks, depending on your rehabilitation success. High impact activities, such as running and jumping, should be avoided to help increase the longevity of your new knee.
How long will I need to have physical therapy?
The day of your surgery or the next day, you’ll be up and walking with the aid of a walker or crutches. You’ll be introduced to your physical therapist and you will discuss your rehabilitation plan moving forward. That first day, he or she will help you bend and straighten the knee to begin this process. A continuous passive motion (CPM) machine could be a part of your physical therapy. This machine moves your new knee joint through its range of motion while you are resting in bed.
Once you return home, you will continue physical therapy for weeks to improve the functionality and range of motion in your new knee. Outpatient physical therapy typically lasts from 4-8 weeks, although this can vary. Full recovery can take from 3-12 months.
When will I see full results?
This depends on your commitment to rehabilitation and on your individual healing rate. Many people consider full results when they can return to walking and other normal activities without using a cane. This can be as soon as one month, but more often from 6-12 weeks. Your new knee will usually last from 15-20 years, but, like your natural knee, it will wear out over time. If you are younger and receiving a new knee, you may require a revision surgery when your artificial knee reaches its lifespan.
Will insurance cover my knee replacement?
Most insurance plans cover the majority of knee replacement surgery. As with any procedure, however, you should check with your carrier prior to any treatments to find out what your coverage is.