Total Knee Replacement
Total Knee Replacement Surgery in Cincinnati
When a knee becomes severely damaged due to an injury or arthritis, it can be difficult to walk, climb stairs, and perform other normal activities. Fortunately for patients in the Cincinnati, Dayton, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana areas, the total joint replacement surgeons at Beacon Orthopaedics employ the latest techniques in total knee replacement, helping our patients find relief from pain and regain functionality.
What is a Total Knee Replacement?
During a total knee replacement, or knee arthroplasty, a damaged knee joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint. This routine procedure is both safe and effective for alleviating knee pain and restoring mobility, greatly improving a patient’s quality of life. Nearly 800,000 knee replacement procedures are performed in the United States every year. In fact, this procedure is so safe and effective that at Beacon Orthopaedics we are seeing much younger patients seeking knee replacement in order to maintain their active lifestyles.1
What Does a Total Knee Replacement Treat?
A total knee replacement is performed when nonsurgical treatment options like physical therapy and using walking supports are no longer adequate to address a patient’s pain and mobility issues. The conditions that most commonly lead to a total knee replacement at Beacon Orthopaedics are:
- Osteoarthritis: “Wear and tear” arthritis that can cause swelling, stiffness, limited range of motion, and clicking or cracking sounds in the knee.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: an inflammatory condition where the body’s immune system attacks the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause permanent damage to bones, ligaments, and cartilage, making movement difficult and painful.
- Hemophilia: Hemophilia is a blood clotting disorder that can lead to bleeding within the joints, or hemarthrosis. This can erode cartilage and joints, leading to a build-up of scar tissue that can make walking difficult.
- Avascular Necrosis: Avascular necrosis, or osteonecrosis, is death of bone tissue and is caused by a lack of blood supply, usually a result of a traumatic injury.
The Knee Replacement Procedure
Knee replacement surgery is performed under anesthesia at our surgery center in Cincinnati. Once an incision is made, the orthopedic surgeon rotates the knee cap (patella) in order to gain access to the knee joint. Next, damaged bone and cartilage are removed from the thigh bone (femur), and the area is shaped to receive the implant. The metal knee replacement is implanted, then damaged bone and cartilage are removed from the shinbone (tibia). Next, the patella is re-adjusted and an additional plastic piece is fitted to hold the implant. Finally, the incision is closed and bandaged and the patient is prepared for recovery.
Recovery After Total Knee Replacement
After knee replacement surgery, it is important for patients to get moving quickly. Rehabilitation with a physical therapist will begin within 24 hours of the procedure. Nurses will show the patient how to care for their bandage and engage in daily activities with limited knee function.
In the first 1-3 weeks after knee replacement, patients can expect to feel some discomfort and will need to rest, ice, compress, and elevate (RICE) the leg. Patients will first use a rolling walker, then may progress to using a single crutch or cane as recovery allows.
A popular question for joint replacement surgeons is, “When can I return to driving after a total joint replacement?” This question is complex because the timing varies between patients. Patients can return to driving anywhere from 1-6 weeks. Every patient recovers differently, so don’t let this discourage you from your recovery progression. Discuss with your surgeon or his or her staff to develop a plan of returning behind the wheel.
During weeks 7-11 of knee replacement recovery, patients will be able to get back to most normal activities. By week 12, patients who have been diligent about their physical therapy should be cleared for athletic activities, although timing can vary.
Rehabilitation after Total Knee Replacement
Recovery after total knee replacement is a gradual process and varies between patients. Most patients are fully recovered after about 12 weeks. Our orthopedic surgeons prescribe a comprehensive recovery program, including precautions and physical therapy, to help patients:
- Reduce post-operative pain
- Strengthen muscles
- Reduce stiffness
- Restore range of motion
- Learn about proper body mechanics for knee preservation
Contact Beacon Orthopaedics
If walking, using stairs, and other activities are difficult or painful due to a knee injury or arthritis, the orthopedic surgeons at Beacon Orthopaedics can help. When methods like bracing and physical therapy don’t alleviate symptoms, we can perform a total knee replacement to get you moving again. Contact us to schedule a consultation with a knee specialist.
1 Cleveland Clinic. Knee Replacement. Available: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/8512-knee-replacement. Accessed January 29, 2022.
2 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Total Knee Replacement. Available: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/total-knee-replacement/. Accessed January 29, 2022.