As the largest joint of the body, the knee is responsible for many significant movements and function of our daily lives. These are the stress bearing joint which support the body’s weight, and allow us flexibility to squat, kick and perform different kinds of motions. For an active person, knees play an even more critical role. Because of all these functions of the knees, osteoarthritis and other joint diseases are a major concern. A large portion of adult and elderly population of the world is suffering from knee pain. When the pain becomes too severe and movement is restricted to a level that the person is unable to perform everyday tasks, the doctor may recommend a knee replacement operation. It is a common orthopedic procedure that has been performed by the surgeon for decades. With improvement in technology and surgical methods, it has become a safe and effective option for treatment of knee related problems. However, it is a major operation with a considerable recovery period and some potential risks. The surgery is recommended when the non-invasive treatment options fail to improve the patient’s quality of life.
A serious knee injury or severe arthritis of the knee are the most common reasons for having this operation. In severe arthritis, the cartilage may get extremely worn and joint replacement option is seen as an effective solution for relieving the pain within the knee and restoring the range of motion.
Knee replacement surgery involves removal of the damaged knee parts and placement of an artificial prosthetic or implant. The implant includes parts made of metal or plastic with a spacer to cushion these parts. The surgery restores the knee function with seamless and painless movement. The minimally invasive approach has even provided the advantage of short recovery period, lesser risk of complication, minimal scarring and lesser post-operative pain. India is a mega hub when it comes to healthcare practices and knee replacement is one of the most successful and commonly performed surgery by the surgeons. The cost of knee replacement surgery in India is highly affordable in comparison to several other countries. This makes it a very lucrative option for international patient, as they are able to save a significant amount of money on the whole treatment.
However, patients must gather important information before undergoing this major surgical procedure, especially about the recovery. Here are some facts that you should know:
Pain and swelling after the surgery
The patient will experience a certain amount of pain and swelling following the surgery. Every person has a different level of pain tolerance and may have different experiences. Joint replacement surgery involves cutting the bone, muscle and skin, but the patient will feel nothing during the surgery due to general anaesthesia. After the surgery, the doctor will prescribe pain killers to manage the pain and discomfort. The swelling will be significant for the first 1 to 3 weeks after the procedure. Some swelling around the new knee may last for as long as 6 to 12 months. The pain, however, gradually diminish over the 3 to 6 months following the procedure.
Stringent rehabilitation therapy
Rehabilitation will start as soon as the next day after the surgery. The physical therapist and medical team guides the patient with small activities, such as getting out of the bed and walking. After the hospital discharge, rehabilitation will continue with outpatient physical therapy sessions.
It is an essential part of the recovery and for the success of the operation. The rehabilitative treatment plan is designed to help patients regain strength, flexibility and function of the new knee. It will also help reduce pain and swelling more quickly and aid in preventing certain complications, such as the dislocation of the implant and development of excess scar tissue which prevents proper joint function.
Rehabilitation will be lengthy
At least 3 to 6 weeks can be expected for a considerable recovery and rehabilitation. The patient will need medications, physical therapy and follow-up appointments with the doctor to ensure proper recovery and healing. It is advisable to plan ahead and make your environment safe for the recovery period. One must also have all the help and support at home or even when going out. Driving will be off-limits for a few weeks and you must have a person to drive you. Many activities such as heavy weight-lifting, strenuous exercises and contact sports will be prohibited for a certain period of time to prevent any damage to the new knee.
Recovery is quick
Depending on the type of procedure, the patient may spend 3 to 5 days at the hospital after the knee replacement. The patients are able to stand and walk before they get discharged from the hospital as it is a recovery benchmarks. Although, they may need to use a walker or crutches to get around, the new knee will gradually allow more independent movement. The patient will be able to climb few stairs, and perform normal daily tasks on their own within a few weeks post-operatively. This is considering they follow the rehabilitation program and perform the prescribed exercises safely.