Over the years, knee replacement surgery has become quite popular among patients suffering from knee problems. One very strong reason that has contributed to this phenomenon is the advancement medical science has made in this field. Today, not only surgeons are better qualified, they also have access to robots and computers that have changed the face of knee replacement surgery. These aids have brought in the much-needed accuracy and precision that was missing in the earlier years. No wonder, what was once an uncommon surgical phenomenon that very few resorted to has become a common surgical exercise that a large number of people resort to as a treatment for their knee problems. Also, knee problems have been on the rise for some time as the number of elderly people has increased, courtesy longer lives that people have come to lead because of better lifestyles.
Today, people do not hesitate to go for surgery if they feel hampered by knee problems such as pain and stiffness but this was not the case some decades back. The history of knee replacement surgeries dates back to 1970s when doctors started taking baby steps in this direction and in the initial years, the implants that doctors used in the surgery did not enjoy a long life. At best, they lasted a decade and thus, the success rate of surgeries was also low. Also, patients refrained from getting under the knife as they were not sure about the repercussions of the surgery. However, thing have changed in the past decade as now the implants last for twenty years and even more in some cases, thereby, making knee replacement surgery a safer and risk-free treatment.
Some of the latest technology in joint replacement includes not only implant material advances, but also advances in how we place the components during the reconstructive surgery. As other articles on this site discuss, there are different surgical approaches in knee replacement that can make significant differences in early and late outcomes. Another technology that is attempting to improve early and late outcomes by making implant placement more accurate is computer aided surgery or CAS.
Over 300,000 total knee replacements are performed in the United States every year. The traditional procedure has been used successfully to straighten mal-aligned knees, eliminate arthritis pain restore range of motion and maximize function. Knee replacements have been performed by orthopedic surgeons for over 30 years. However, patients usually have to endure a prolonged period of disability until they are fully recovered. It is due to this fact that surgeons and their patients have been searching for an alternative method of knee replacement that could be less invasive.
Millions of people in the United States suffer from knee arthritis and its associated pain and disability. Before considering knee replacement surgery, patients should first try non-operative treatments such as medication, physical therapy, braces and injections. In many cases, these can be very helpful. However, when the progressive deterioration of the joint leads to severe pain and deformity, patients will often choose total knee replacement as a solution.
While you can’t help your physician perform a successful knee replacement surgery, you can help-and must help-with your rehabilitation afterwards. The following advice will prepare you to benefit the most from working with your physical therapists (PTs). We will be nice, I promise.
Visit with your physical therapist two to four weeks before your surgery. In one or two pre-surgery visits, your therapist will teach you exercises to do before surgery that make the first few weeks after it easier.