What is the rehabilitation like for a total knee or partial knee replacement?
Total Knee Replacement in Houston TX
Think of the impact your knee absorbs over the course of 40 or 50 years. Is it any surprise that the cartilage, whose job it is to cushion and allow the knee joint to move smoothly, simply wears out over those years? This is known as osteoarthritis, the “wear and tear” arthritis. In the knee joint, osteoarthritis is the most common reason patients eventually need to have total knee replacement surgery. Their cartilage is damaged or worn away and it becomes increasingly difficult to perform even simple activities, such as climbing stairs or walking.
Forget about playing tennis or going for a run. Traumatic injury and rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to this sort of damage. In these situations, total knee replacement may be necessary to allow the patient to resume normal activities. Dr. Adickes performs total knee replacement surgery for his Houston TX patients.
What is Total Knee Replacement Surgery?
In total knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, the damaged bone and cartilage from the patient’s shinbone, thighbone, and kneecap are cut away. An artificial joint made from metal alloys, high-grade plastics, and polymers replaces the removed areas. Now the knee can move and function again without pain.
Total knee replacements are one of the most successful procedures in medicine, with over 600,000 performed each year in the U.S.
What are the Signs I May Need Total Knee Replacement Surgery?
Serious pain, even when sleeping, and loss of function are the obvious reasons a person would need total knee replacement. These are conditions that would cause Dr. Adickes to recommend total knee replacement:
- Severe knee pain or stiffness that limits your everyday activities, including walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of a chair.
- Moderate or severe knee pain even when at rest.
- Chronic knee inflammation and swelling that does not resolve with rest and medications.
- Knee deformity, such as bowing inward or outward.
- Failure to substantially improve with conservative treatments, such as cortisone injections, lubricating injections, physical therapy, and the like.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for a Total Knee Replacement?
There are no age or weight restrictions with these procedures. Dr. Adickes will recommend this procedure based on your pain and disability, not your age.
Most patients who have total knee replacement surgery are between the ages of 50 and 80, but every patient is evaluated on his or her own issues.
When evaluating your candidacy for total knee replacement, Dr. Adickes will evaluate several areas:
- Your Medical History — We’ll get information about your general health, and how your knee is affecting your life. This will include a measure of the level of pain you’re in.
- Physical Exam — Dr. Adickes will test your knee’s motion, stability, strength, and overall leg alignment.
- X-Rays — These images will show the extent of damage and deformity in your knee.
- Other Tests — We may want an MRI to ascertain the condition of both your bones and the soft tissues in your knee.
Our first course of treatment is always the most conservative, unless in cases of traumatic injury. These treatments will include anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, lubricating injections, and physical therapy.
What Options Do I Have for Total Knee Replacement?
When you are to the point of needing total knee replacement you don’t really have options. If your damage is in only one area of your knee, Dr. Adickes may be able to perform a partial knee replacement. But if you have damage on both your shinbone and thighbone, along with degraded cartilage, a partial knee replacement won’t be an option.
There are a variety of different prostheses available for total knee replacement and Dr. Adickes will discuss these with you, but this really isn’t something to shop for. Dr. Adickes believes in the Zimmer Biomet products for his replacements.
What is the Zimmer Biomet?
Dr. Adickes uses Zimmer Biomet prostheses for his total knee replacement procedures. Zimmer Biomet offers a comprehensive suit of orthopaedic knee implant products and instruments, and Dr. Adickes believes in their quality. In fact, over one third of all knee replacements around the world use Zimmer Biomet products.
Zimmer Biomet offers different options for men and women. This compensates for the important differences between men’s and women’s knees. The company also has fully customizable knee implant options.
As we move toward this surgery, Dr. Adickes tries to help his patients have realistic expectations. The human knee is a miracle machine of both function and durability. While our artificial replacements are excellent, they still have some limitations.Over 90 percent of people who have total knee replacement report a dramatic decrease in pain and a significant increase in the ability to perform common activities such as walking. But your artificial knee won’t make your knee superhuman.
With normal use and activity, every knee replacement implant begins to wear in the plastic spacer. Not respecting your new knee speeds up this wear. Placing too much impact or gaining lots of weight can cause the knee replacement to loosen and become painful. That’s why high-impact sports and activities have to be taken off the table for the rest of your life. These include running, jogging, jumping, or any sports/exercises that create high impact.
To make your knee last its normal lifespan, Dr. Adickes advises his patients to take up low-impact sports such as golf and biking. You’ll be able to walk as much as you like and do light hiking. Swimming is a great option.
There are really two parts to your recovery after total knee replacement surgery with Dr. Adickes: planning and actual physical recovery.You’ll need to plan your recovery before you even schedule your surgery. You will be able to walk on crutches or with a walker soon after surgery, but you’ll need help around the house for several weeks with tasks such as cooking, shopping, bathing, doing laundry, and the like.
You’ll need to make some modifications in your house in preparation. Consider these items:
- Adding safety bars in the shower
- Making sure stair handrails are secure
- Having a stable chair at a height of 18-20 inches with a firm back, two arms, and a footstool for intermittent leg elevation
- A stable shower bench or chair for bathing
- Removing all throw rugs and loose carpeting
- A temporary recovery room on the ground floor, as walking up and down stairs will be very difficult in the early part of your recovery
What Will My Physical Recovery Be Like?
In the Hospital
You’ll likely stay in the hospital for a couple of days before heading home. You will have pain medication, but these will need to be managed to avoid possible addiction. We’ll also have you on a medication to prevent blood clot formation and decrease leg swelling. We may also use compression hose or even an inflatable leg covering. We’ll get you moving your foot and ankle immediately following your surgery to increase blood flow in your leg muscles to help reduce swelling and decrease the chances of developing a blood clot.You will begin physical therapy the day after your surgery. Your physical therapist will teach you the specific exercises you’ll need to strengthen your leg and restore knee movement. A continuous passive motion exercise machine could be used to help with this.
We will provide you with instructions for recovery when you return home a couple days after your surgery. You must follow these diligently, as this will largely dictate the successful return of full function in your new knee. These instructions will include wound care and bathing information.Exercise is probably the most important part of your home care. Your activity regimen will include:A graduated walking program to slowly increase your mobility Resuming other normal household activities, such as climbing stairs
Specific daily exercise plans that both restore movement and strengthen your knee. At first, you’ll have a physical therapist come to your home to help you with these.
You should be able to resume most normal activities of daily living within 3-6 weeks of your surgery.For most people, this procedure provides pain relief, improved mobility, and a far better quality of life. Most knee replacements can be expected to last more than 15 years.
Dr. Adickes serves patients in Houston TX with total knee replacement surgery. Contact him at .