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According to the CDC, more than 1/5 of all adults in the U.S are dealing with some form of arthritis, and the chance of you having to face arthritis only increases as you grow older. One of the most irritating kinds is osteoarthritis, which comes about thanks to the cartilage in your joints wearing away so bone rubs against bone. If you’re dealing with osteoarthritis (or another form of arthritis) in your knee, it’s time to contemplate knee replacement surgery stat.
But how do you learn more about this procedure so it doesn’t seem so strange and off-putting?
Well, that’s where we come in. Here’s our patient’s guide to knee replacement surgery! So without further preamble, let’s jump into things.
When Do You Need Knee Replacement Surgery?
One of the ways to know you need knee replacement surgery is if your knee hurts significantly even while resting or if you have difficulty walking and sitting/standing. You should also go for surgery if your knee contorts inward or outward from its standard position. It’s worth noting that surgery can also be an option if other treatment options like physical therapy or medication are not alleviating your pain and other symptoms.
For those worried about the cost of the surgery, outpatient knee surgeries tend to range around $19,000 (but the price gets cut immensely if you use health insurance or Medicare). Inpatient knee surgeries, on the other hand, go more towards the $30,000 range. Some hospitals will also provide discounts for those who lack proper health insurance or Medicare.
How Does the Surgery Work?
To start the surgery, you’ll get to consult with your doctor over anesthesia options. These can range anywhere from going under with general anesthesia to utilizing an epidural for knee surgery to release anesthesia over time (or a combination of these methods).
Once you’re under, your surgeon will go into your knee and extract the torn cartilage, replacing it with metal implants and plastic buffer to create an artificial joint. If the damage is less severe, the surgeon can opt for a partial knee replacement. This leaves any healthy bone and cartilage in the knee alone (this also reduces the cost of the surgery).
The whole procedure only takes a few hours at most and requires you to stay a few days at the hospital to recover.
Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery
Once you’re released from the hospital, you’ll need to stay on crutches or use a wheelchair for several weeks. This means staying away from things like chores, driving, and going to work until your doctor gives the go-ahead.
That said, you shouldn’t leave the knee in stasis. You’ll want to visit a physical therapist to learn exercises that keep blood flowing through your knee and prevent the muscles from atrophying.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for possible complications. For example, keep an eye out for any problems you have breathing or coughing fits, as this can be a symptom of a blood clot forming in your knee that moved up towards your lungs.
On the Road to Healing
So, now that you have this patient’s guide to knee replacement surgery, you’re ready to hop onto the road to healing! Plus, make sure to check the other articles on our site out for more on how to stay healthy and protect your body!