The knee is a joint comprising three compartments: the femur, the patella, and the patellafemoral joint. It is the largest joint in the human body; it supports virtually the entire body weight and allows a large range of motion not limited to flexion and extension. Being the most complex joint in the human body, the knee is a very delicate part of the anatomy and is susceptible to pain, acute injuries and development of illnesses such as osteoarthritis.
There are many causes of knee pain, including fractures, strain or sprain by sudden twisting, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, dislocation of the kneecap, ligament injury, torn ligament, torn cartilage, connective tissue disorders, and infection in the joint among others. While many kinds of knee pain can be cured through medicines and rehabilitation, there are severe cases requiring replacement surgery in order to relieve pain and get you more active again by restoring functions of damaged or diseased knee joints.
Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, is the surgical solution when all other treatment options have been exhausted to no avail. There are two types of knee replacement procedures: the partial arthroplasty and total arthroplasty. During partial knee replacement, the surgeon will replace one part of your knee joint. In total knee replacement, the surgeon will remove the damaged bone and cartilage and replace them with a prosthesis - an artificial joint - which is made of metal and high-grade plastics and polymers.
Prior to undergoing any type of surgery, you need to go through vital preparations.
- You have the right to know what medical procedures are to be done to your body; thus, discuss what these procedures are with your doctor or surgeon. Know how the replacement will be performed and how the implant will be affixed to your body. Know how long the operation will take and what to expect subsequent to the surgery. How soon can you go home and return to your normal activities after the arthroplasty? What are the things you can still do and which activities are not recommended? How long will the replacement last? These are just some of the important questions you should ask your doctor and make sure you understand before submitting to a surgical procedure. The answers to all of your questions are your basis for all kinds of preparations you will need.
- Once you are scheduled for surgery, your doctor will have you undergo physical examination and other pertinent tests to help you prepare for the operation. Discuss foods that you should and should not eat. Take note of what you are to avoid, especially prescription drugs. If you are maintaining medication or supplements, let your doctor know, as you will most likely be advised to stop taking them in preparation for the surgery.
- Avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Stay clear of vices; make an effort to avoid them and to maintain a healthy lifestyle after the surgical treatment.
To ensure that you are best prepared for your knee replacement surgery, ask for a list of guidelines from your doctor and have someone with you especially after the procedure or when you go home. It pays to have someone else around when your activities are still limited and until you heal properly.