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Total Knee Replacement

Total Knee Replacement

If you have been experiencing extreme discomfort in your knee for a substantial amount of time and the pain cannot be controlled by over-the-counter medications, then it may be time to schedule an appointment with a physician.

Through the course of our lives, our knees begin to degrade. The cartilage becomes worn and the pain that you are experiencing could be chronic, meaning long-lasting. If the discomfort is severe enough to wake you up at night or limit your everyday movement, you may need a knee replacement. The pain could be caused by an knee injury, but typically this condition results from normal, everyday wear and tear, which makes knee replacement surgery most common for people over 40 years of age.  

Knee replacement surgery was first performed in 1968 and over the intervening years, newer and better surgical technique coupled with advances in the prosthetics and their materials has greatly increased the effectiveness of the surgery. Knee replacement surgery is a safe and effective procedure to relieve pain, correct leg deformity, and help you resume normal activities.

If all other avenues to treatment have been exhausted and the pain is not lessened with over-the-counter or prescribed medications, then surgery may be your only option. Total knee replacement surgery resurfaces the lower end of the thighbone (femur) and upper end of the shinbone (tibia) so that there is no longer bone rubbing on bone. It is performed by opening the knee and removing the damaged part of the cartilage. The cartilage is then replaced with a metal or plastic implant. This surgery is 98 percent effective as well as the most common surgery performed on the joints.

In general patients stay in the hospital for two days. Some people go home the next day and some require three days, but the average is around two days. 

People heal at different rates, so recovery time after a total knee replacement varies. One can expect to need rest and rehabilitation for approximately three to six months after surgery. Typically, short-term recovery takes six to 12 weeks, and you should be able to walk, unaided, with your pain controlled by over-the-counter medications. For long-term recovery, one can expect to regain total knee function in six to 12 months. Of course, this is approximate and with the addition of physical therapy and plenty of rest, the recovery rate is accelerated.  

People who have had the surgery are, in general, very happy with how well their knee feels after their knee replacement. Most people find they are able to resume their daily activities and go back to the activities that they have had to give up as a result of their knee pain.

The orthopedic surgeons at The Longstreet Clinic specialize in joint replacements, including the knee.  All are experienced in treating the knee joint and will be able to properly determine the best course of action. Surgeries are performed at Northeast Georgia Medical Center's state-of-the-art North Patient Tower and Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton.
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