Knee Replacement Surgery
What to Expect
Each knee is individual and knee replacements take this into account by having different sizes for your knee. If there is more than the usual amount of bone loss, sometimes extra pieces of metal or bone are added.
Surgery is performed under sterile conditions in one of Silver Cross Hospital’s operating rooms located in the Procedural Care Unit under spinal or general anesthesia. You will be on your back and a tourniquet applied to your upper thigh to reduce blood loss. Surgery takes approximately two hours.
Your knee is in a bent position so that all surfaces of the joint are fully exposed. The surgeon cuts down to the bone to expose the bones of the knee joint.
The damaged portions of the femur and tibia are then cut at the appropriate angles using specialized jigs. Trial components are then inserted to check the accuracy of these cuts and determine the thickness of plastic required to place in between these two components. The patella (knee cap) may be replaced depending on a number of factors and depending on the surgeon’s choice.
The real components are then inserted with or without cement and the knee is again checked to make sure things are working properly. The knee is then carefully closed and drains usually inserted, and the knee dressed and bandaged.
After surgery, you're taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (recovery room) for one to two hours. You're then moved to your private room in one of our surgical units, where you typically stay for a couple of days before going home, or a rehabilitation facility. You may feel some pain, but medications prescribed by your doctor should help control it.
During your hospital stay, you're encouraged to move your foot and ankle, which increases blood flow to your leg muscles and helps prevent swelling and blood clots. You may need to receive blood thinners and wear support hose or compression boots to further protect against swelling and clotting.
The day of surgery, a physical therapist with The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital shows you how to exercise your new knee. During the first few weeks after surgery, you're more likely to experience a good recovery if you follow all of your surgeon's instructions. If needed, Silver Cross offers outpatient rehabilitation. Just ask your surgeon for a referral.
As with any major surgery, there are potential risks involved. The decision to proceed with the surgery is made because the advantages of surgery outweigh the potential disadvantages. It is important that you talk with your surgeon about these risks before the surgery takes place.
Knee replacement surgery is intended to relieve knee pain and improve knee functions. However, implants may not produce the same feel or function as your original knee. There are potential risks with knee replacement surgery such as loosening, fracture, dislocation, wear and infection that may result in the need for additional surgery.
Longevity of implants depends on many factors, such as types of activities and weight. Do not perform high impact activities such as running and jumping unless your surgeon tells you the bone has healed and these activities are acceptable. Early device failure, breakage or loosening may occur if you do not follow your surgeon's limitations on activity level. Early failure can happen if you do not guard your knee joint from overloading due to activity level, failure to control body weight or accidents such as falls.