Knee Replacement is one of the most advanced and prevailing techniques to get rid of chronic pain. If the Patient’s general health is good, they can walk and get back home on the same day. Most people who undergo a Knee Replacement are between the ages of 50 and 80. The average age is about 70. Here are the excerpts of an insightful interview with Dr. Neelam V Ramana Reddy, Consultant Joint Replacement Surgeon in Hyderabad, STAR Hospitals.
Why and when Knee Replacement is necessary?
When there is a lot of pain in the knee due to complete loss of joint cartilage, the person affected cannot walk or carry out other activities; we then offer Knee Replacement as a surgical procedure. As part of the procedure, we take out all the worn-out bone and cartilage and then replace it with alloy metal and plastic implants. This has been a standardized method for the last 30 years. A lot more Knee Replacement Surgeries have been performed in the last ten years, mostly because of higher awareness about the treatment, and also because of advancements in surgical techniques as well as implant techniques.
What leads to this intense pain in the knees? Is it related to age?
Just as when you age your hair turns grey or you start experiencing wear and tear in the back or in the neck, the knees also begin to have problems…especially because they bear your weight, and have therefore suffered wear and tear over the years. Such wear and tear cause pain. In an early stage, the pain is mild. In later stages, the pain could be severe, and it gets difficult to get through one’s daily activities. There is pain even while sleeping. When one gets to a stage of arthritis, which is seen as the late stage, one has to undergo Knee Replacement.
The changes begin to manifest after the age of forty. However, overweight or people with a sedentary lifestyle and with multiple medical conditions or steroid intake may contract arthritis at a younger age.
Has it got anything to do with gender?
Generally, it is women who suffer from Knee Arthritis. For every four ladies who have the disease, there is only one male with arthritis. Basically, it affects women more than it affects men.
What are the various methods to treat Knee Arthritis?
The treatment depends on the stage of the Arthritis. During the early stage, when the disease is mild, medicines, physiotherapy, exercises, and lifestyle changes help. If a patient is overweight, it is necessary that he or she loses weight. For every 5 to 10 percent of weight loss, the pain comes down by 50 percent. In later stages, extensive physiotherapy and knee joint injections have been proven beneficial. If the pain still persists or does not reduce, then we suggest surgical options. There are various kinds of surgeries like Knee Arthroscopy, osteotomies, Partial Knee Replacement or Total Knee Replacement.
Which is the latest of them all? What is Fast track knee replacement?
Partial and Total Knee Replacement is the latest with the best track record. In performing these surgeries, we now make use of minimal invasion. Earlier the surgeries had larger incisions and cutting more muscles. But for the last 3 to 4 years, we follow minimal invasive fast track surgeries. This helps the patients to get back to their normal lives quickly. Earlier, patients would be made to stay in the hospital for 10 to 15 days post-surgery and walk after 5-10 days after the surgery. But now, with minimal invasive FastTrack TKR, we make them walk on the same day and discharge from the hospital in 48 hours without the need for ICU stay further reducing chances of infection and other complications. They can start driving in four to six weeks. Basically, the recovery is much faster, thanks to improved surgical techniques, multimodal pain management involving anesthesia, and better instrumentation leading to improved accuracy and recovery.
Can both knees be replaced at the same time?
Yes. The most recent research proved better function of both knees when surgery is done in one go on medically fit patients.
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