Sunday, August 1, 2010

Total Knee Replacement - Why You Shouldn't Wait

Undergoing surgery is not something that anyone looks forward to. Sometimes people will learn to live with pain rather than going under the knife to repair any damage but when it comes to your mobility it's never a good idea to wait. Total knee replacement becomes necessary when the patient's mobility is hampered and typically more damaged is caused when arthritic conditions are ignored. This is especially true for female patients. It is thought that women can bear more pain than men so they wait longer to consider surgery.

What is a total knee replacement?

A total knee replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces the ends of the damaged femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone) and creates a smooth knee joint. The prosthetic components are made from metal or plastic and are secured to the bone with cement. Depending on the extent of the damage, a partial knee replacement or uni-compartmental replacement can be done in which only a portion of the joint is replaced. (The knee is comprised of three compartments).

What causes degeneration in the knee joint?

When bones become degenerative it is most commonly associated to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis, also referred to as "wear and tear" arthritis is common in older patients and is caused by aging joints, obesity and prior injuries. Symptoms associated with osteoarthritis are joint pain and stiffness and decreased mobility. Weight loss can improve osteoarthritis and has been shown to decrease symptoms.

What to expect after Surgery

After undergoing a total knee replacement, patients are instructed by their physician to under go physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles and ligaments. Depending on the amount of trauma, rehabilitation time will vary in patients. Rehabilitation is extensive but is necessary in the process. It is very important to manage weight gain because one of the contributing factors to osteoarthritis is obesity. Throughout the recovery process it is vital to maintain constant communication with your doctor.

1 comment:

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