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Knee Replacement

Knee Replacement: Overview, Preparation, Procedure, Recovery, Risks, and Aftercare

Replacement of a damaged or diseased knee joint with an artificial implant is called knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty. Individuals with severe knee pain and limited mobility due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or injury are typically recommended for this procedure.


Patients may need to prepare for knee replacement surgery by following these steps:

  • To assess the severity of knee damage and overall health status, a comprehensive medical evaluation is conducted, including a physical examination, imaging tests (such as X-rays or MRI), and blood tests.

  • To reduce the risk of complications during surgery, patients may need to adjust their medications, such as blood thinners and anti-inflammatory drugs.

  • It may be beneficial for some patients to undergo preoperative physical therapy in order to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint and improve their mobility, which will facilitate the recovery process after surgery.


Knee replacement surgery typically involves the following steps:

  • General anesthesia induces unconsciousness, while regional anesthesia, such as spinal or epidural anesthesia, numbs the lower body while the patient remains awake.

  • An incision is made over the knee joint, exposing the damaged surfaces.

  • The damaged areas of the knee joint, including the ends of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone), are removed and reshaped to accommodate artificial implants.

  • A metal and plastic implant is securely attached to the prepared surfaces of the femur, tibia, and sometimes the patella (kneecap).

  • A sterile dressing is applied to the surgical site after the incision is closed with sutures or staples.


Following knee replacement surgery, patients can expect to experience the following:

  • After knee replacement surgery, most patients remain in the hospital for a few days to undergo pain management, physical therapy, and postoperative complications monitoring.

  • Under the guidance of their healthcare provider, patients are encouraged to gradually increase their activity levels following surgery to improve knee strength, flexibility, and range of motion.

  • In the early stages of recovery, assistive devices such as walkers, crutches, or canes may be necessary to support walking and prevent falls.


Knee replacement surgery is generally safe, but there are some potential risks and complications.

  • The surgical site or the joint can become infected, requiring antibiotics or additional surgical intervention.

  • Complications such as blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or the lungs (pulmonary embolism) may require blood-thinning medication.

  • Over time, artificial knee implants may wear out or become loose, requiring revision surgery.


Following knee replacement surgery, patients should follow the following aftercare instructions:

  • To manage pain, prevent infection, and reduce the risk of blood clots, take prescribed pain medications, antibiotics, and blood thinners as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • Strengthen, stretch, and function your knees by engaging in regular physical therapy exercises and activities recommended by your healthcare provider.

  • Attend all follow-up appointments with the surgeon to monitor healing progress, assess range of motion, and discuss any concerns.

  • Adopt healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding activities that strain the knees excessively.

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