Knee replacement surgery which is also known as Knee Arthroplasty is done to relieve pain and restore function in poorly functioning and severely affected knee joints. During knee replacement, the surgeon removed the damaged bone from the thighbone and kneecap and replaces it with an artificial joint made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers.
With the advancement of technology, you can now choose from a wide variety of designs depending upon your age, weight, activity level and overall physical health. Most knee replacement prosthesis aim to duplicate the ability of a natural knee to roll and glide as it bends.
Candidates for Knee Replacement
You can be an ideal candidate for knee replacement if:
- Your pain is disabling: People who have problems walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs and bed. They also may experience moderate or severe knee pain when at rest.
- You're 50 or older: Knee replacement is typically done in older adults, but it can also be considered for people of all ages. Young active people have a tendency to wear out their new knees early.
- Your general health is good: Conditions such as restricted blood flow, diabetes or infections can make the surgery complicated and hinder recovery.
- Other treatments haven't helped: More conservative treatments include weight loss, physical therapy, a cane or other walking aid, medications, and braces.
- You have a knee deformity: Knee replacement can be especially beneficial to people with bow legs etc.
Types of Knee Replacement Implants
In knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty), a damaged or diseased knee is replaced with an artificial joint. Knee replacement is a common operation for performed to relieve knee pain in cases where the knee joint has been damaged by conditions such as arthritis. There are two types of surgery that are mainly performed, depending on the condition of the knee:
- Total knee replacement
- Half or partial knee replacement
How is the operation performed?
Modern knee replacements include the removal of the worn ends of the bones in the knee joint and replacing them with metal and plastic prosthesis. You may get either a total or a half-knee replacement done depending on how damaged your knee is. Total knee replacements are however more common.
Total Knee Replacement Procedure
Both sides of your knee joint are replaced in a total knee replacement procedure. It ideally takes one to three hours:
- The surgeon first makes a cut down the front of your knee to expose the kneecap so that the surgeon can get to the knee joint behind it.
- The damaged ends of your thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) are carefully removed. A dummy joint is positioned to test if the joint is functioning properly. Adjustments are then made and the final prosthesis is fitted.
- The end of the femur is replaced by a curved metal piece and the end of the tibia is replaced by a flat metal plate and these are fixed using special bone 'cement' to fuse with the replacement parts. A plastic spacer is placed in between metal pieces.
- The cut is then closed with stitches or clips. A dressing is applied to the wound, and sometimes a splint to reduce leg movement.
- It has a long life and lasts for about 15 years.
- It is a very popular treatment that has stood the test of time.
- It is a more time consuming operation than partial knee replacement, wherein more bone needs to be removed and involves a bigger incision
- A longer hospital stay is required and the recovery period often takes much longer.
- A blood transfusion maybe needed.
- You might have difficulty moving, especially bending your knee
Name: Mrs. BASHAER
Total Knee Replacement Patient from Iraq
Partial (half) Knee Replacement
A partial knee replacement is performed If only one side of your knee is damaged. This is especially recommended for people with osteoarthritis.
- It is a smaller operation where less bone is removed and it involves a smaller incision
- It needs a shorter hospital stay and recovery period.
- Blood transfusions are seldom required.
- It results in better knee movement, much like the natural knee.
- It is not as reliable as a total knee replacement when it comes to minimize pain.
- It is not as long lasting as a total knee replacement, which means further surgery might be required at a later stage
- It is net recommended for young, active people.
Cost of Knee Replacement in India
Patients from countries like UK, Germany, USA, Canada and Australia with serious orthopaedic problems are attracted to India for a number of reasons, the primary one being affordable cost. In India, treatments are extremely cost-effective and medical tourists pay a quarter or sometimes only the 10th of the total cost that they spend in their native countries. Other important factors that draw foreign nationals to India include high quality healthcare with a personal touch, low cost treatment, skilled surgeons, good safety and hygiene and the absence of hidden charges. The average cost of a medical treatment in India is almost 1/6th of that in developed countries.
Common surgical procedures like total and partial knee and hip replacement, hip resurfacing and arthroscopic surgery of shoulder and knee are very much preferred by patients travelling to India. Older people above 60 years suffering from chronic hip and knee diseases are unable to afford expensive surgical treatment in their own countries. Moreover a long waiting list of up to a year in the UK for orthopaedic surgery is also a major deterrent for citizens. Under these circumstances, people with major orthopaedic ailments find it a feasible and exciting option to travel to India.