The increase in life expectancy means that our joints need to keep functioning for a long time. Add to this, the often unhealthy effects of modern lifestyles and the stress on the many joints of the body is greater than previous generations experienced. One of the joints that feels the most pressure is the knee joint. Problems of the knee joint, caused by either disease or injury, can result in both severe pain and loss of mobility, which has a negative impact on the quality of life. Luckily, total knee replacement is a safe and common surgical procedure that will allow the patient to return to a problem-free life. Unfortunately, there are several myths, misconceptions, and half-truths about knee replacement surgery that keeps people trapped in a life of pain and limited mobility they need not suffer.
The Myths And The Reality
Myth : Knee replacement is a risky procedure.
Any surgery involves an amount of risk, but knee replacement is so very common and safe that the risk is negligible.
Myth : Knee replacement surgery is very painful.
Modern surgical techniques allow for a great deal of pain control. The operation is a painless experience and any pain during the recovery period will be negligible and limited by medication. The physiotherapy treatment you will receive is both to help you increase your flexibility and to reduce pain and stiffness.
Myth : The hospital stay is very long.
Once again modern surgical procedures and equipment have reduced the normal hospital stay time. Generally speaking, a patient is sent home 3 or 4 days after the surgery. Your doctor will be able to give you a more accurate timeframe.
Myth : It takes months to recover from the operation.
Once you return home and begin your prescribed exercise and medication regimen, you will be surprised at how soon you regain your mobility. You will be able to move around the house with a walker or crutches as soon as you return home. In just a few weeks you will be able to go out and shortly thereafter, start driving and resume other daily activities.
Myth : You will need to take pain medications for the rest of your life.
Medication will be required during the recovery period, but after that, you will not need to take any medicines because of your new knee.
Myth : You will need walking aids for the rest of your life.
For the first few weeks after the surgery, you will have to use walking aids. This is both to enable you to regain your sense of balance as well as protect the new knee. However, within a few weeks, you should be able to walk without help and regain your normal mobility.
Myth : You are too old/too young for knee replacement.
Age has nothing to do with a knee replacement. Any adult, irrespective of being in their 20s or 80s, can have knee replacement surgery to treat a knee damaged by illness, wear, or injury.
Myth : Other health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. may rule out a knee replacement.
Other health issues may require some modification in the surgical procedure and pre and post-operative medication, but in most cases, they do not impact a patient’s suitability for the surgery.
Myth : An ortho doctor will always advise knee replacement.
A doctor’s first objective is always the good health of the patient and the best way to achieve this. A doctor or surgeon who can treat knee problems without the need for surgery has been successful so there is no pressure to go in for surgery. It is only when other treatment options are not viable that surgery is advised.
Myth : My new joint will always be fragile/delicate.
The new knee joint will be as strong as a natural joint. The surgery is performed to enable you to return to the quality of life you had before the knee problem began. Some minor precautions may be required, but nothing that will impact the way you live and your activities.
Myth : I will not be able to play sports with a knee implant.
Some high-impact sports like jogging or martial arts may not be possible but others like walking, golf, tennis, swimming, etc. will be available to you. Ask your doctor about any concerns you have about your post-surgery activities.
Knee replacement surgery is a safe and effective way to get rid of the pain and mobility limitations caused by a damaged knee joint. Talk to your doctor about any hesitations or doubts you may have. He will give you the facts you need to make the right decisions.