Total Knee Replacement or total knee arthroplasty is a surgical procedure performed for the replacement of a damaged or worn-out knee joint with an artificial joint. It is typically recommended for individuals who have severe knee pain and stiffness due to conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or traumatic injury.
In conventional total knee replacement surgery, the procedure is performed using traditional surgical techniques. Here's an overview of the typical steps involved:
- Preoperative Assessment - Before the surgery, the patient undergoes a thorough evaluation, including medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRI scans, or blood tests. This helps the surgeon determine the extent of knee damage and plan the surgical approach.
- Anaesthesia - The patient is administered either general anaesthesia, which induces unconsciousness throughout the procedure, or regional anaesthesia, which numbs the lower part of the body while the patient remains awake.
- Incision - The surgeon makes an incision, usually around 8 to 12 inches long, over the knee joint to expose the damaged joint surfaces.
- Joint Preparation - The damaged surfaces of the thigh bone (femur), shinbone (tibia), and kneecap (patella) are carefully removed using specialised surgical instruments. The amount of bone removed depends on the severity of joint damage.
- Implant Placement - The artificial joint components, including metal implants for the thigh bone and shinbone and a plastic spacer for the kneecap, are securely attached to the prepared bone surfaces. The metal and plastic components are designed to mimic the natural shape and movement of the knee joint.
- Wound Closure - The surgeon closes the incision using stitches or staples. Drains may be placed to remove excess fluid and minimise swelling.
- Recovery - After the surgery, the patient is taken to the recovery room for monitoring. Pain medications, antibiotics, and blood thinners may be prescribed to manage pain, prevent infection, and reduce the risk of blood clots. Physical therapy and rehabilitation programs are initiated to help regain knee strength, flexibility, and mobility.
It is crucial to note that total knee replacement surgery is a major procedure, and the specific details may vary depending on the patient's condition and the surgeon's approach. Advances in surgical techniques, such as minimally invasive procedures and robotic-assisted surgery, have also been developed to potentially offer smaller incisions and faster recovery times. However, the conventional method remains widely used and effective for many patients. It is crucial to consult with an orthopaedic surgeon for a thorough evaluation and personalised advice regarding your specific situation.