Total Knee Replacement Surgery

total knee replacement in operating room


A total knee replacement surgery is where a damaged or diseased knee is replaced using artificial material. It is performed after the recommendation of an orthopedic surgeon and can help in restoring the proper functioning of the knee. It also relieves the patient of all the pain which they might have been experiencing.

Total knee replacement surgery is also known as knee arthroplasty. The orthopedic surgeon can choose from an array of surgical procedures and prostheses depending upon the condition of the patient’s health, their age, etc.

When is a Total Knee Replacement Surgery needed?

In order to assess a patient’s requirement for a total knee replacement, orthopedic surgeon would check knee’s stability, motion, and strength. People who have acute pain in their knees must go in for an X-ray in order to determine the extent of the damage.

People suffering from osteoarthritis are the ones who are most suited for this procedure. Due to this ailment, patients experience severe pain in their knees. This hampers their day-to-day lives as they are not able to function normally. They face difficulties in walking, climbing stairs, sitting, and standing. In severe cases, patients may also feel pain in the knees while resting as well.

An orthopedic surgeon has to determine if the patient has swelling and stiffness in their knee. If the patient’s mobility is reduced because of their knee, immediate surgery has to be prescribed by the orthopedic surgeon. Total knee replacement surgery should be strictly advised if the issues regarding knees are hampering the quality of life and sleep of the patient.

What to Expect?

Going in with such an invasive surgery as total knee replacement, one must be aware of the procedure in detail. This extensive procedure is recommended by an orthopedic surgeon when all the conservative options have been exhausted. The following are some of the points which should be made clear to the patient by their doctor.

  • The surgery usually lasts for about one to three hours.
  • The patient would generally be discharged within 1 to 5 days of the surgery.
  • Patients, who prepared well for the surgery in advance, recover more speedily.
  • People who smoke are less likely to have a smooth recovery.
  • Age is another factor that affects a patient’s recovery. If the person in question is at an advanced age, recovery may take more time than normal.
  • Younger patients, who have aged as an advantage, may heal more quickly.

Preparing before Surgery

It is of importance to understand the need for preparing patients who are going for surgery like total knee replacement. If the patient is prepared, mentally and physically, they would not become overwhelmed at the time of the procedure. Preparing in advance helps the patient to stay calm before going in.

The following can be done for preparing before the surgery.

  • One should prepare for devices used for mobility for the patient. This is necessary because, after the surgery, the patient would be unable to walk by themselves.
  • At home, one must create a living situation where there is minimum need for stairs, and all work could be done without straining the patient.
  • Bathrooms and restrooms must be equipped with handrails in order to avoid any accidents.
  • Rid the house of all loose cords or slippery carpets to steer clear of tripping accidents.
  • Arrange for a comfortable chair with a cushion to make the patient comfortable in a sitting posture.
  • Physical therapy before the surgery enhances the chances of quick recovery. Patients must start mild exercising 2 to 3 weeks before their procedure.

What happens after the surgery?

People who would be operated on would be experiencing the following after the surgery.

  • After the procedure is over, the patient would be taken to a hospital recovery room for a couple of hours. This is different from patient to patient, as some people are sent straight home after the surgery.
  • The patient must be encouraged to move their ankle and foot. This would help the flow of blood in the leg.
  • Physical therapy would be advised by the orthopedic surgeon. The patient would start small by performing mobility exercises in the initial recovery states.
  • Pain and discomfort should be treated with the help of ice packs and other external mediums. The swelling would be prominent and must be expected after such a severe surgery.
  • Recovering patients should return to their daily lives by doing small chores at a time. Heavy-duty work such as climbing stairs and vigorous exercising should be kept on hold for later.
  • Less tiring jobs should be given priority by the patient.

Risks Involved with Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Risks involved in a total knee replacement surgery are as follows:

  • Patients can develop blood clots in the legs, which may cause Pulmonary Embolism.
  • Pulmonary Embolism can cause breathlessness, chest pain and other lung-related ailments.
  • Blood clots can cause shock.
  • Some other risks involve Urinary tract infections, nerve damage, blood vessel injury, and permanent knee infection.
  • The patient may suffer vomiting, nausea, stiffness in the body, and internal bleeding in the knee joint.
  • Anesthesia can also cause a lot of issues in certain cases resulting in lung, liver, heart, and kidney failure.


A total knee replacement surgery is known to be a safe procedure, which can help a patient relieve their chronic pain and immobility. The operation involves cutting the damaged bone and cartilage from the patient’s thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap. It is then replaced with an artificial prosthesis made up of metal alloys or high-grade polymers.

In order to be completely rehabilitated, the patient is advised to go for physiotherapy. This surgery has proven to be extremely successful in enabling patients to return to their daily lives with ease and satisfaction.

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