When Procedure is Used
Arthritis, injuries, and overuse can damage tissue and wear away cartilage, and a knee replacement can become the only way to decrease pain and improve your quality of life after you have tried nonsurgical treatments and physical therapy. Osteoarthritis is the most common reason people need knee replacements, and when the damage to the bones and/or cartilage is severe enough, you may find that you are experiencing pain and stiffness while you are climbing stairs and walking or even just sitting and lying down.
You will receive either spinal or general anesthesia to relax your muscles, prevent pain, and help you fall asleep. You may also be given a nerve block to provide additional pain relief following the procedure. After your knee has been placed in a bent position, your surgeon will make a 6-10 inch incision along the front of your knee in order to move your kneecap to the side and prepare the joint. Once any damaged material is cut away, the pieces of the artificial joint will be placed, and the surgeon will test the movement of the new joint before closing the incision.
The risk of complications is very low. However, potential risks might include
- allergic reactions to medications
- nerve damage
- bleeding or blood clots
- injury to surrounding tissues
- pain relief
- increase in range of motion
- return to normal activities