Total Knee Replacement for Knee Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a condition where the joint gets inflamed thus eroding the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of involved bones. The ends thus wear down over time. It has become a global burden affecting around 2.4 crore people. Worldwide estimates are that 9.6% of men and 18.0% of women aged over 60 years have symptomatic OA. 2.6 Crore people in India alone are affected with this dreaded devil. A lot of it has to do with lifestyle and age. Women are more prone to osteoarthritis then males, especially around age 50 and above.

Total Knee Replacement is a surgery where in deformed bones are replaced making a joint pain free and good as new. Let’s see exactly how they are both associated.

Indications of Total Knee Replacement:

There are strict defined guidelines for surgical candidates:

  • Pain in and around knee that does not respond to medicines, Physiotherapy etc. Pain at rest.
  • If the scans (Xray, MRI) shows so
  • Restricted range of motion that interferes with daily living activities
  • Deformed knees like bowing outwards, waddling gait.
  • Severe swelling and inflammation
  • Contraindications of the surgery are:
  • Systemic Inflections  means affecting the entire body such as high blood pressure, kidney or liver diseases affecting multiple systems or an infection in the bloodstream.
  • Muscular or Neurological deficit surrounding the surgical site
  • Conditions where Anesthesia cannot be administered.
  • Skin Infections of the affected area like Psoriasis or Eczema
  • Uncontrolled Diabetes
  • Vascular Disease where circulation is inadequate
  • Dental Problems like cavities, or gingivitis
  • Malnutrition
  • Severe Smoking or Nicotine usage
  • Brittle bones or Osteoporosis
  • Advanced age 80 or above

Surgery vs. Medicine

Numerous studies have reported greater improvements post replacement surgeries than with person on non-surgical treatment. Not to rule out the adverse effects caused due to prolonged consumption of NSAIDs and Steroids like liver damage, stomach bleed, stroke, heart attack and vision related problems. Enormously expensive Pain care supplements have also captured the osteoarthritic market with results extremely questionable.

Success rate of Knee Replacements:

Research has concluded that more than 90% surgeries results in successful outcomes like

  1. Decreased pain
  2. Upgraded function
  3. Independent Ambulation

This is a common but major surgery recommended to all those who cannot be treated by medication and Physical Therapy.

Effectiveness of replacement surgery:  Factors affecting outcome and patient satisfaction

  • Post-surgical Rehabilitation Strengthening and Range of motion exercises
  • Ambulation with the help of an assistive device as long as required

90% patients rated their post-surgical experience as good to excellent with in 6weeks of surgery. Most of them have returned to their normal personal and professional lives with a 41% of people being able to perform activities like dancing, golfing etc.

How Long A Knee Replacement Does Stay?

Approximately 90% of knee replacements last at least 15 years. Average life of a knee replacement is considered 20 years. In case the surgery is repeated after 20 years it is called revision knee replacement surgery and is being commonly done .

All and all total knee replacement evolves as a safe and proven remedy for knee osteoarthritis which improves quality of life and promotes independence in the affected person.