As you age, the cartilage in your knee joint wears down. This may cause activities you once enjoyed to become difficult to get through due to pain. Even taking a walk or carrying groceries upstairs may become difficult or inconvenient with knee pain. Your orthopedic doctor may talk to you about knee replacement surgery if you suffer from knee joint degeneration.
Here’s what you need to know about knee replacement for seniors.
What Is Knee Replacement Surgery?
Knee replacement, or arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure for a deteriorated knee joint. An orthopedic surgeon can cut away damaged or diseased parts of the knee. Your surgeon will then use artificial materials, like metal alloys, polymers, or medical-grade plastics, to replace the tissues. The parts they replace could be the kneecap, connective tissues like cartilage or ligaments, or a portion of the thigh bone.
Why Have A Knee Replacement?
Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to address arthritis or severe knee damage. Arthritis is a medical condition affecting the knee joint. Almost half of Americans diagnosed with arthritis are age 65 and over.
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which may develop as you get older. Osteoarthritis is most commonly due to knee overuse, which can happen as you play sports or participate in physical activities. When the cartilage cushioning the bone joint wears away, bone on bone contact can cause knee pain. Your orthopedic doctor may recommend knee replacement when conservative treatments become ineffective.
Knee Replacement Surgery In Seniors
Before undergoing knee replacement surgery, your orthopedic doctor will assess you to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for knee replacement surgery. Critical factors include:
- Physical fitness
- Other medical conditions
- Knee shape
- Overall health
Like any major surgery, there are risks involved with knee replacement. The likelihood of complications during or after the surgery increases with age, so your doctor will help you weigh the risks and benefits of knee replacement surgery.
Preparing For Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery will require a short stay in the hospital and at least a couple of weeks in recovery. Consult your doctor for instructions on how to take care of yourself after surgery.
You must also prepare your home surroundings before your arthroplasty surgery. You may be unable to climb stairs, so it is best to stay on the ground floor. Consider installing handrails or safety bars around the house, especially in the bathroom. You may also use seat risers on the toilet and comfortable benches with footstools to support your knee.
What To Expect During The Operation
Knee arthroplasty is an inpatient surgical procedure. General anesthesia will put you to sleep, while spinal anesthesia will numb you from the waist down. Your anesthesiologist will help you decide which anesthesia is best for you.
During the procedure, your knee will be in a bent position. During traditional knee replacement, surgeons create an eight to twelve-inch incision in the knee. Nowadays, minimally invasive knee replacement surgery only requires a three to six-inch incision using special tools. After the procedure, you will be heavily medicated to control pain. Depending on how fast you recover, your nurse will continue to give you pain relievers to help you stay comfortable.
Recovering From Knee Replacement
Help and support from family, friends, and medical professionals are vital for a successful recovery. After your operation, you may need someone to drive you home, and you might need assistance moving around for the first few weeks. You can also benefit significantly from physical therapy to help maintain your strength and range of motion. Occupational therapy will also help you perform and resume your daily activities. After three to six weeks, you may begin to perform light activities.
Results Of Knee Replacement Surgery For Seniors
An artificial joint installed during an arthroplasty can last for about 20 years. The joint may wear out sooner, depending on how physically active you are. However, the need for revision surgery is rare in the first 10 years.
Knee replacement surgery dramatically increases the quality of life of most patients. Patients may return to driving, socializing, shopping, and traveling pain-free again. Seniors who undergo knee replacement are more independent and less reliant on assistance.
Knee Replacement For Seniors In Connecticut
Old age should not hinder us from doing the things we love. Knee replacement surgery can be the new beginning to a pain-free and meaningful life. Talk to our orthopedic surgeons today to know if knee arthroplasty will benefit you.
Advanced Orthopedics New England is a team of medical experts who specialize in different bone and joint conditions. We are passionate about providing individualized care, which best fits our patients. We perform knee replacement surgery for all ages, including seniors.
Call our friendly staff at (860) 728-6740 or fill out our appointment request form. Advanced Orthopedics New England is located in Bloomfield and Rocky Hills. We also have urgent care clinics in Enfield and Vernon. We are available for orthopedic care in Springfield, MA.