Is a Knee Replacement Major Surgery?
Most people maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine to stay in shape. What happens when that is threatened by regular aches and pains that persist despite our use of painkillers? It may be time to think about having knee replacement surgery as a long-term solution when activities like walking, running, jogging, trekking, and even climbing stairs are no longer a possibility due to excruciating knee pain.
Signs That You Might Need Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement is regarded as significant surgery and is typically only suggested after alternative therapies like physiotherapy or steroid injections have not decreased the pain or improved mobility. If you have persistent or re-occurring pain which plagues you through the day and prevents you from sleeping, daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs become difficult. Should your knees feel constantly stiff or swollen, then perhaps replacement surgery is your only option. Knee deformities, such as bowing in or out of the knee, can also make you an ideal candidate for replacement surgery.
Should the aforementioned not be sufficient proof that you require a knee replacement, then consider asking the following questions:
- How is the pain affecting my lifestyle?
- Have I exhausted all other avenues of treatment?
- What are the long-term risks of not having the surgery?
Immobility due to constant pain is something that no person should have to endure, especially when you find that it affects your daily routine.
What Type of Replacement Surgery Do You Need?
As each patient is unique, patients and doctors need to face a set of choices before considering any surgery. Your doctor will conduct a thorough evaluation and consider all the factors before determining whether the knee replacement surgery required will be conventional or minimally invasive surgery.
An incision of roughly 7 to 15 centimetres is made during a minimally invasive knee replacement treatment to allow for the insertion of the replacement. This results in minimal damage to surrounding muscles and tendons around the knee. Compared to conventional surgery with a larger incision, the benefits of minimally invasive surgery include less discomfort, swelling, and blood loss, shorter hospitalisation and rehabilitation, as well as the ability to resume everyday activities sooner.
Prepare Yourself for Your Surgery
Before going into the hospital, find out as much as you can about what is involved in your surgery. Your doctor or surgeon should provide you with written or other information on the topic and advise how you can stay as active as possible before surgery, as strengthening the muscles around your knee will aid in your recovery. Ask your doctor to refer you to a physiotherapist who can recommend helpful exercises before and after the surgery. Full recovery can take up to 2 years as scar tissue needs to heal and your muscles need to restore through exercise.
At Life Wilgers Hospital in Pretoria, we understand that surgery is a big decision. Contact Dr De Vos to find out more about our state-of-the-art diagnostic systems and treatment approaches for knee replacement surgery.