Knee Replacement Surgery – Things You Need To Know

Knee replacement surgery is an important decision in a patient’s life suffering from related health issues. Let us have a look at some of the facts related to knee.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

There are two ways of conducting knee replacement surgery. The orthopedic surgeon can use the minimally invasive surgery or traditional surgery to replace the knee joint.

However, an overwhelming number of orthopedic surgery doctors give preference to minimally invasive surgery. The primary reason for this preference is use of smaller incision. The use of smaller incisions helps reduce the damage done to soft tissues.

Your orthopedic surgeon is the best person to decide the procedure for you. Some research studies show that minimally invasive surgery is better. In many cases it helps reduce hospital stays, reduce blood loss, and improves knee mobility function. However, some other studies suggest that at times it increases risk of complication. The poor position of knee implants can result in loss of motion.

Therefore, at times, minimally invasive knee surgery may not be the best option. The orthopedic surgery doctor will require bigger incision to have more working space.

Weight Loss Can Play Important Role

At times, simple lifestyle altering choices can go a long way in overcoming knee pain. For example, many orthopedic doctors maintain that we must maintain a healthy lifestyle. Similarly, they argue that we must keep body weight in check.

Overweight patients have more knee related problems to deal with. These patients can try reducing their weight to have an overwhelming impact. A loss of exercise in obese people results in loss of muscle.

The muscle around the knee also reduces due to no exercise. Weight loss can help reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis. Similarly, more muscle has a positive impact on the knee function and retardation in progression of disease.

However, you need to consult your doctor to know which type of exercise works best for you. You must be careful in selecting an exercise while keeping your knee position in perspective. Do not exercise without asking your doctor about it.

Alternative Treatment Methods May Also Work

Patients often ask if knee replacement surgery is the only option? Well, in some cases it may be the only option. While, in order cases, your orthopedic surgery doctor may recommend other ways to treat knee pain.

In some patients, you do not need to have a complete knee replacement surgery. The bone surgeon may recommend the patient to undergo partial knee surgery. The orthopedic surgeon recommends partial knee surgery to patients with limited damage to the knee. The disease did not have an impact on the bone and the cartilage remains healthy.

The benefit of total knee replacement surgery is reduced pain and quicker recovery times. However, there exists a risk of a revision surgery if arthritis starts affecting other parts of the knee.

Technological Advancements Took Place in Knee Replacement Surgery

Over the years, advancements in knee replacement surgery techniques have improved a great deal. Patients usually avoided knee replacement surgeries till it became inevitable.

The advancement in materials, technologies, and techniques have had a considerable impact on the quality of treatment. Nowadays, orthopedic surgeons mark precise locations for implanting the implants in the exact location. Over 200 different types of implant sizes are available to help the surgeon better decide the right fit.

Trauma and Injury Has Devastating Impact on Knee Joint

Injury has a bad impact on the knee. Similarly, trauma can have a bad impact on the knee. However, it is seldom a case where the damage could impact the joint surface. For these kinds of issues, the orthopedic surgeon will advise measures like rehabilitation, immobilization, or reconstruction.

However, a very small percentage of patients may need to undergo knee replacement surgery. These are the typical cases where the joint’s surface deteriorates due to the impact of an injury. The condition occurs because of the ligaments not holding the knee together. Doctors recommend patients with such problem to avoid high-impact sports and activities.

Common Questions Relating to Knee Replacement Surgery

Let us have a look at some of the common questions patient ask. For answers to all your questions, get in touch with Dr. Dave Watts of Sioux Falls Orthopedics.

What is the life of an artificial knee joint?

The various studies conducted on knee replacement surgery show 85 percent success ratio. However, the modern materials make it possible to last for up to 20 years. But does depend on the usage. Too much wear and tear can result in early problems in performance. Therefore, you must limit your physical activities to prolong the components life and performance.

Is there a need of using special equipment?

The orthopedic surgery doctor will recommend the patient to use CPM machine, when lying on bad or a flat surface. The orthopedic surgeon may give this device to the patient before sending them home.

CPM stands for continuous passive motion. The purpose of this machine is to gently flex the knee joint. The purpose of this machine is to improve knee movement. Most patients want to facilitate their quick recovery. CPM machines lets them improve their knee joint movement. Consult your doctor if you need a CPM machine or not. In other cases, the doctor may ask you to use special mobility equipment including crutch or walker.

Any measures or precautions to take during recovery at home?

Some patients live in a multi-storey building. They need to make sure that they shift their bed on the ground floor. Try to clear any obstructions and clutter which may curtail your movement. You may consider using garb bar in the shower or tub.

What kind of expectations should you set recovering from knee replacement surgery?

In most cases, the patient will be able to start walking in a day or two. They may have to use some kind of walking support like crutches or walker. The physical therapist will assist with the different bending exercises after knee replacement surgery.

The length of post-knee surgery therapy depends on the patient’s health and type of procedure. It usually takes several weeks for the patient to fully recover. The different exercises help improve mobility of the joint. In some rare cases with no support available at home, the doctor may ask the patient to stay at a rehabilitation facility.

Expectations Immediately After Surgery

In most cases, the patient will have a drain after surgery for removing the fluid. The patient will have an elevated knee and with a CPM machine attached. The attachment of a catcher will ensure that you do not need to go to the toilet. The doctor may ask the patient to wear a compression bandage.

After the surgery, the doctor administers intravenous antibiotics for reducing changes of blood clots. Sometimes, the patient may feel stomach upsets, something doctors consider normal.The doctor may advise the use of medication to reduce stomach pain.

Anaesthesia During Surgery

There is truth in risks related to anaesthesia. However, there is a low rate of complications in general anesthesia. There are different types of anesthesia your anesthetist may consider. Some options for anesthesia include nerve blocking, epidural, spinal, or  general. Your orthopedic surgeon will discuss with the anesthetist the type of anesthesia to administer.

Pieces Used in Knee Replacement Surgery

The orthopedic surgery doctor will use implants made of multi-grade plastic and metal. The sealing of these components to your bone will play an important role. The use of bone cement helps set the components in. However, it depends upon the doctor. Sometimes, they may choose to use an approach not involving cement. In this method, the use of porous coating results in growth within the tissue. In some rare cases, the surgeon may simultaneously choose to use both approaches.

The Actual Procedure Behind Surgery for Replacement of Knee

The surgery starts with an incision at the top of the knee. This incision lets the surgeon expose the damaged knee area. The traditional method of surgery required an incision of up to 10 inches. However, the minimally invasive surgery requires shorter incisions. Sometimes, a 4 inches incision is enough to expose the bone.

After incision the orthopedic surgeon will be able to move the kneecap aside. The orthopedic surgery doctor will cut away the damaged portion of the bone and cartilage. After replacing the damaged bone and cartilage, the orthopedic surgery physician will replace them with plastic and metal components.

The orthopedic surgery specialist ensures the components are biologically compatible. The aim is to mimic natural movement of the patient’s knee. It usually takes 1.5 to 2 hours for the orthopedic knee replacement surgery to take place.

Is Surgery the Only Option?

No, it depends on the extent of damage. In some cases, surgery may be the only option. However, there are certain tips you can follow in consultation with your doctor.

  1. The doctor may administer the patient with bone marrow concentration injections. The physician may inject our own bone marrow cells into our body. This will help improve the healing of the injury in the knee joint. However, this type of treatment is more effective in younger patients.
  2. The use of plasma rich injections can sometimes help. Some famous athletes do use this method to overcome knee pain. The process works by concentrating your body’s growth factors into platelets.
  3. The use of hyaluronic injections may also help in some cases. The procedure originally applicable in plastic surgery can also help knee joint pain. It is a thick lubricant driven from rooster comb. This procedure helps overcome inflammation and cushions knee cartilage. This procedure works best in cases of early knee arthritis intervention.
  4. Also, exercise can help relieve knee pain. The orthopedic surgery doctor asks the patient to focus on improving strength of thigh muscles. An increase in thickness of the thigh muscles will help overcome the risk of undergoing knee joint replacement surgery. Ask your doctor about specific exercises to help you overcome knee pain. Some of the exercises the doctor may recommend include pilates, cycling, and swimming.

When Do I Need to Undergo Surgery for Replacing Knee

There are certain requirements you need to meet in order to undergo a knee replacement surgery. Let us have a look at some of these requirements.

Bone on Bone Arthritis

If a patient has a bone on bone issue but due to thinning of cartilage, they must not undergo the surgery for replacing knee joint. The primary reason is that these patients will not get satisfactory results from the surgical procedure. They must get in touch with their orthopedic doctor in Sioux Falls to work on pain management strategies.

Knee Instability

The progressive instability in the knee makes it a lot loose and unstable. The stability can be mild or intense. In rare cases, the bending of knee makes it a lot more instable. The knee upon bending may also create a popping sensation. Such instability may cause the patient to have difficulty in walking or fall. In such cases, the

Effect on Daily Activities

An important reason for considering knee replacement surgery is problems affecting daily life routine. In such cases, even the anti-inflammatory medicines do not have any impact on the patient. You can only consider surgical option when the pain becomes unbearable.

One example is inability of the patient to go out of their home to conduct routine activities. The person with the problem does not want to go out because of the pain. This also includes inability of the patient to go up and down the stairs. Sometimes, the bone on bone arthritis is responsible for this unending pain.
Similarly, extreme knee pain may make it difficult for the patients to go to sleep at night. Even the sleeping pills cannot help the patient go to sleep.


Meniscus Tear, Treatment, and Symptoms


The forceful rotation or twisting of the knee causes knee injuries called meniscus tear. Sometimes, when a patient puts their full weight on the knee, it results in meniscus tear.

There are two menisci which act like cushion between thighbone and shinbone. There are different problems which result because of meniscus tear. There are many issues caused by a meniscus tear. Typical health issues may include swelling, stiffness, and pain. Sometimes, the meniscus tear can also result in blocking the knee motion.

The Causes behind Meniscus Tear of the Knee

Sometimes, injuries can also cause meniscus tear of the knee. At times, the lifting of heavy objects or age contributes to wearing down of the meniscus. Hence, older people have a greater tendency of getting this knee problem.

Common Symptoms Associated with Meniscus Tear

The symptoms vary with the extent of the tear. There are different levels of meniscus tear in the knee. The symptoms depend on the type of the tear including minor tear, moderate tear, and severe tear.

A minor tear only causes a small injury with less pain. The usual time for recovery from a minor injury is 2 to 3 weeks.

However a moderate meniscus tear takes usually 2 to 3 days to get worse. The moderate injury results in sharp pain. A moderate meniscus tear can also result in making the joint a lot stiffer. The patient needs to take a moderate meniscus tear seriously. If not treated properly this kind of knee meniscus tears can take years to heal.

The severe tears of the meniscus can also affect the knee joint. Sometimes, a severe tear like these can lock the joint. The severity of the tears can also result in inability of the patient to freely move their knee. Sometimes, torn meniscus pieces can go into the knee joint, making the condition more painful.

In older patients it is difficult to determine the exact cause of the tear. The patient can only feel pain when moving from a squatting position.

Doctor Diagnoses of the Treatment

These are some of the common ways of diagnosing the problem of meniscus tear.

Physical Examination the Patient

There are different methods used by the physician to look into the knee joint.

X-ray of the Knee

The X-ray may not necessarily show a problem in the meniscus but it can help ascertain other potential customers. Sometimes, an X-ray can reveal other issues responsible for the problem like osteoporosis.

MRI Scans

MRI uses latest magnetic technology to determine the cause of the knee pain. This may include taking pictures from different angles to get a better understanding of the situation.

The Use of Ultrasound

Ultrasound may help take images where ordinary cameras do not work. An ultrasound lets the physician know if there are any loose cartilages.

Physical Examination

A simple yet effective way can be physical examination of the patient. The doctor examines knee of the patient for testing the different motions. The doctor will have a closer look to ascertain exact place of the meniscus tear.

In some cases, the doctor may ask the patient to undergo McMurray test. The McMurray test involves bending the knee and straightening it up to see the joint rotation. The slight pop of the knee during this test can help the physician know about a tear.

Treatment for Meniscus Tear

There are different methods recommended by the orthopedic doctor. You need to consult your orthopedic doctor in Sioux Falls South Dakota for the right type of treatment.

  • The orthopedic doctor recommends their patient to take rest. Sometimes, the patient may be asked to temporarily use crutches. The doctor also asks the patient to avoid activities which may worsen their joint pain.
  • The application of ice every 3 to 4 hours for half an hour can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • The wrapping of an elastic bandage around the knee can help give temporary comfort to the patient.
  • Sometimes, the physician may ask the patient to elevate their knee to reduce swelling.

Surgery for Overcoming Meniscus Tear Problem

The doctor will recommend an arthroscopic surgery if the knee does not respond to the conventional methods of treatment.

  • The patient may need to use crutches until the day of the surgery.
  • The orthopedic surgeon will ensure all pre-surgery requirements are fulfilled. The tests that the orthopedic doctor may conduct include MRI, EKG, and desired medical clearances.

The patient is asked not to eat or drink the night before the night of the procedure.

Injuries Responsible for Extreme Knee Pain

Extreme Knee Pain - Sioux Falls Orthopedics

Different reasons can cause knee pain. In extremely painful conditions the patient must see an orthopedic doctor.

Let us have a look at the common reasons for knee pain.

Knee Fractures

Knee fractures can occur due to different reasons. In most of the cases, the fractures are not that severe. Some of the knee fractures are not serious and heal with time. However, even smaller fractures can severely impact the mobility of the knee. For example, fracture of the kneecap can make it difficult for the patient walk or bend their knee. It also becomes difficult for the patient to put weight on their fractured knee.

Ligament Injuries

A knee injury can result in stretching and sometimes rupturing a ligament. Some of the ill effects of knee ligament injuries include reduced movement, swelling, tenderness, bruising, or pain. The knee joint becomes unstable and makes the patient limp. The type of treatment for knee ligament injuries depends on its location and severity. For example, basic sprains can take a few weeks to heal. The patient will have maximal ligament strength by six weeks after the collagen fibers have matured.

Meniscus Injuries

The menisci are in the knee working as a shock absorber. Cartilage in the knee make up the knee menisci. Twisting of the knee menisci is one of the common reasons for the injury. The injury causes acute pain. Some of the common ways of treating knee meniscus injuries include conventional methods like an elastic bandage, application of ice or physical therapy. In some cases, surgery for repairing the meniscus or remove part of it.

Knee Dislocation

Knee dislocation is one of the most painful conditions for a patient. In the event of knee dislocation, the patient needs to see the doctor immediately. A friend or family member must accompany the patient and ideally use a stature or wheelchair to transport the patient. The patient must exercise caution and minimize unnecessary use of the injured knee.