The replacement of an affected knee with an artificial knee, a surgery called arthroplasty, is an intervention whose main indication is osteoarthritis or knee wear, which is a condition that causes chronic pain and can become disabling. Rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis tend to be the other causes, in order of frequency.
This prosthesis is usually normally functioning, which works normally, around 15 years on average, although today’s prostheses can last longer. Some last up to 20 years if their placement at first was adequate, preserving the optimal joint lines and axes and if the joint is not subjected to excessive overload during the useful life of the prosthesis, such as being overweight, intense physical exercise, etc.
The intervention of the replacement of knee prosthesis must be carried out by expert orthopedic surgeons. But this is not the only factor that will determine the success of knee arthroplasty. Obviously, a period of convalescence and a very careful, specific and constant rehabilitation treatment are required.
The doctor who has operated on you, as well as your medical team, will give you precise instructions on the steps to follow after the intervention. Including care of the surgical wound, feeding, supports with load or without load, rehabilitation exercises guided by a physiotherapist, etc.
Types of knee prostheses
There are two types of knee prostheses depending on the affected parts of the joint:
- Total knee replacement: The distal part of the femur and the proximal part of the tibia are replaced.
- Partial knee replacement: Only one of the bony structures in the joint is replaced.
After the intervention, your surgeon will tell you if you can support and carry the operated leg. You will need to use a walker or crutches at first (you can read more about rehabilitation in our article: “Rehabilitation after knee replacement surgery”). physical therapist will teach you exercises to get the maximum functionality of your knee.
Here is a brief explanation of why you need to replace your knee with a prosthesis:
Why do you need to replace your knee with a prosthesis?
The knee is formed by the distal part of the Femur, the proximal part of the Tibia, the patella, the menisci, the ligaments, the joint capsule and the tendons that are inserted in its periphery and give it movement. The knee is the largest and most complex joint in the human body. Despite this, it can be successfully replaced by an artificial prosthesis with incredible results, especially in severe cases in which the quality of life has suffered considerably.
Anatomically, all these elements form a perfect balance to achieve bipedalism and bipedalism (standing) on two limbs.
However, over time, the perfect and uniform sliding of the structures that make up the knee becomes more imperfect due to their wear. Until they produce pain, deformity and functional impotence.
This degeneration can affect one or several joint elements that make up the knee. Normally wear affects several.
In the early stages of knee osteoarthritis, it is advisable to lose weight, eat correctly and exercise moderately. Some anti-inflammatory and calming drug can be added, but after a while this is not enough. The pain becomes continuous and chronic over time, a syndrome of immobility is established due to lack of functionality and pain, the joint stiffening and deteriorating more and more.
At this point, it is worth considering replacing your knee with a prosthesis and improving or recovering the patient’s quality of life.