Severe knee pain is an ailment that many Americans endure. One of the most effective ways to correct the problem is with total knee replacement surgery. In fact, the procedure is so effective that around 600,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed each year in the United States.
Also known as joint replacement surgery, knee replacement surgery is usually the last course of action when there is severe knee pain or stiffness that limits daily activities like walking, climbing stairs and getting in and out of chairs. Other reasons for having the procedure include moderate or severe pain while resting, chronic knee inflammation that doesn’t improve with rest or medication, knee deformity, and failure of medication to treat the pain.
When Should You Consider Knee Replacement Surgery?
If you have joint degeneration due to osteoarthritis, and it is not improving with rest or medication, your physician may recommend knee replacement surgery.
Types of Knee Replacement
- Total Knee Replacement – is a surgical procedure to resurface a knee damaged by arthritis. Metal and plastic parts are used to cap the ends of the bones that form the knee joint, along with the kneecap. This surgery may be considered for someone who has severe arthritis or a severe knee injury.
- Partial Knee Replacement – surgery to replace either the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) parts of the knee. It is called a partial replacement because only one part of the damage knee is replaced.
The procedure takes approximately one to two hours. Your orthopedic surgeon will remove the damaged cartilage and bone, and then position the new metal and plastic implants to restore the alignment and function of your knee.
Following the surgery, hospital stays usually last for 1 to 2 days. During this time, you will recover from the anesthesia, and from the surgery itself. After the first day recovering from surgery, you will be asked to start moving and walking around.
Most patients are able to go home directly after a short hospital stay. Patients going home will begin therapy at an outpatient physical therapy facility. If the discharge planner determines that home health services are needed, the hospital will arrange for this.
Generally, it takes three to four weeks after knee replacement surgery to resume some daily activities like light housekeeping or driving. Complete recovery usually takes three months, after which you are able to enjoy low-impact activities like swimming, biking and golfing.
With the advances in technology, physicians are discovering new ways to improve the life span of artificial hip joints. People who have hip replacement surgery today may expect the artificial joint to last longer than joints replaced 10 to 20 years ago.
With the success of medical technology, more than 90% of modern total knee replacements are still functioning well 15 years after the surgery. In order to protect your knee replacement, remember to participate in daily light exercises, see your doctor for routine check-ups and take special precautions to avoiding falling or injuring your joints.
The Joint Replacement Center team strives to achieve best practices, and to stay on the leading edge of joint replacement surgery. Practices that have proven especially effective are, pre-surgery total joint replacement education classes, patient guidebooks, group physical therapy sessions, pain management program, and rehab coach.
As a result of our quality initiatives, our outcomes are far above the national average. Our patients have a faster recovery, less pain and an overall excellent patient experience.
- Rapid recovery and transition back home.
- Drastically improved quality of life.
- Excellent patient experience.
- Low complication rates.
Education plays an important role in achieving successful rehabilitation outcomes. Patients and their families attend joint replacement pre-op classes to help them understand what to expect during hip replacement surgery at the Joint Replacement Center. The educational classes will go over the importance of immediately beginning joint replacement therapy as soon as the day of or day after knee replacement surgery. The education doesn’t stop there, it continues into the therapy and post-operative sessions to teach patients what they need to do to recover and how family and friends can help them get back to their daily activities.
Our specially trained joint replacement coordinators, or navigators, will guide patients each step of the way during their knee replacement surgery. The joint replacement coordinator acts as your personal “nurse navigator,” and will steer the way pre and post-surgical procedures.
Our patients are encouraged to identify a loved one as their "rehab coach" as they begin life after their joint replacement surgery. Joint replacement coaches are responsible for supporting patients and encouraging them to live active lifestyles.
Our family-centered care approach focuses on group activities, physical therapy, and support as the foundation of healing and recovery. The group therapy sessions are led by the physical therapy department and rehab coaches.
Group settings are another key component of the Joint Replacement Center that sets it apart from a typical hospital visit. Since the experience at the Joint Replacement Center is unlike the traditional hospital setting it is important for patients to know what to expect in terms of resources and therapy groups.
After surgery, you will have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon to make sure your knee is healing properly. If recovery is progressing well, most people resume their normal activities by this time — even if in a limited fashion.
See more information about follow up care in the Patient Guidebooks for Knee Replacement Surgery below.
Preparation, education, continuity of care, and a pre-planned discharge are essential for optimum results in total knee replacement surgery. The Guidebook is a communication tool for patients, physicians, physical and occupational therapists, and nurses. It is designed to educate you so that you know:
- What to expect every step of the way.
- What you need to do to prepare for surgery.
- How to care for your new joint.
Remember, this is just a guide. Your physician, physician assistant, nurses, or therapist may add to or change any of the recommendations.
Long Beach Medical Center
Guidebook for Knees - Long Beach Medical Center
Orange Coast Medical Center
Guidebook for Knees - Orange Coast Medical Center
Saddleback Medical Center
Guidebook for Knees - Saddleback Medical Center