Is Total Knee Replacement Surgery Successful?
The first knee replacement surgery was performed in 1968. Since then, improvements in surgical techniques, materials and methods have greatly increased the effectiveness. According to research, total knee replacements are the most successful procedures in all of medicine with more than 600,000 total knee replacements performed each year in the United States.
More than 95% of the patients who have a total knee replacement experience a dramatic reduction or complete resolution of knee pain. They have shown significant improvements in the ability to perform daily activities. Most patients can return to sports activities such as golf, biking, hiking and skiing.
How is a Total Knee Replacement Performed?
Total knee replacement, also called arthroplasty, resurfaces the bones of the knee and replaces the damaged joint with synthetic parts. There are three basic steps in a total knee replacement:
- The cartilage at the ends of the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), and patella is removed along with small amounts of underlying bone. This resurfaces the bones and prepares them for the synthetic joint.
- Next, the metal components that recreate the surface of the joint are cemented or “press-fit” onto the bone.
- Last, a medical-grade plastic spacer is inserted between the metal components to create a smooth gliding surface.
Knee Arthroplasty Presentation
What is Computer-Guided Total Knee Replacement?
Dr. Mazzara offers a new procedure called computer-guided total knee replacement which allows him to provide a personalized fit for the patient’s knee implant. Computer-guided knee replacement begins with an advanced MRI before the surgery. Dr. Mazzara uses the MRI and computer technology to design a custom cutting guide. He uses this guide during surgery to position the knee implant to fit the natural joint more exactly. Using this computer-guided technique gives patients a customized knee replacement that is the closest thing to a natural joint with fewer complications.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Total Knee Replacement?
For a successful knee joint replacement, it is important to follow the protocol and instructions provided by Dr. Mazzara and his orthopedic team. Here is what to expect:
- Most patients need to stay in the hospital for at least one day following surgery.
- Immediately after surgery, patients experience pain for which Dr. Mazzara will prescribe medicine. It is important to follow dosing instructions.
- Some patients will be prescribed support hose or inflatable leg coverings called compression boots and blood thinners to prevent blood clots. Knee wraps will help minimize swelling after surgery as well.
- Ankle and foot movement may be encouraged immediately following surgery to increase blood flow to the muscles.
- Patients will begin to exercise the knee joint the day after surgery. A physical therapist will instruct the patient regarding certain leg movements and how to strengthen the leg to restore full knee motion.
- 3-6 weeks after surgery, normal daily activities can be resumed.
- Full, unrestricted activities are typically allowed after 3-4 months.
- It can often take as long as one year for the pain from a total knee replacement to resolve. Although the tissues are healed at six weeks, it takes many months for the scar around the knee to mature and for the muscles and tendons to be fully rehabilitated to feel close to normal again.
For more information about a total knee replacement surgery and the advantage of computer-guided knee replacement, please contact the orthopedic offices of Dr. James Mazzara, knee surgeon in Manchester, South Windsor, Enfield, Glastonbury and surrounding Hartford communities.