What is knee prosthesis?

The knee joint is the largest joint in the body. Knee pain is often seen in elderly people, and the most common cause is calcification. In addition, knee calcification may occur due to trauma. Knee replacement surgery usually needed with aging or overuse causing abrasion, pain, and functional loss. The surgery creates a new joint by covering the knee joint surface, which causes pain and functional limitation, with special pieces made of metal and polyethylene. Knee prosthesis has been used since 1960 for surgical treatment.

Who should perform knee replacement?

Knee prosthesis is a preferred method of treatment in cases where walking distance is significantly reduced, functional knee movements are restricted and other treatments such as drug therapy, physical therapy, assistive device use, and intraarticular injection methods don’t work. Knee prosthesis treatment should be considered in patients who have to take pain medication every day because of knee pain. Knee prosthesis is often used in patients with knee calcification. Knee prosthesis is often performed between the ages of 60-80, but it can also be applied at younger ages in conditions such as rheumatic diseases and osteonecrosis. Patients with active infection in the body are not eligible for knee replacement therapy.

How is knee replacement surgery done?

Patients eligible for knee prosthesis surgery are determined by tests and physical examination to be performed by an orthopedic specialist. After recruitment of the informed consent form of candidate patients for knee prosthesis surgery, patients are evaluated by an anesthesia specialist with blood test, lung film and ECG in terms of compliance. After the appropriate anesthesia is performed in the operation, the knee joint is reached with the incision made on the knee frontal. The cartilage surfaces that contact the bones forming the knee joint are cut out together with the underlying bone texture. The knee prosthesis selected for the patient is placed on the bone surfaces. Knee replacement takes about 2 hours. Epidural pain pumps can be used to control the knee pain that may develop postoperatively.

After knee replacement surgery

After the operation, the knee should not be twisted on the day of surgery and ice should be applied to the knee. The day after the operation, the knee movements can be started and it can be loaded with help. Patients may be discharged within 3-10 days after knee replacement surgery. After the operation, patients should be informed about exercises, preferably with physical therapy.

Most of the patients who undergo knee replacement surgery have significant pain control in the knee pain. Patients’ painless walking distance increases and they become functionally more independent in their everyday lives. Approximately 4-12 weeks are required for patients to walk independently on the street after knee replacement surgery. Running after knee prosthesis, doing sports that require bounce is not advisable. Activities such as walking and swimming, which do not overload the string, are the most suitable sports for knee prosthesis patients.

After knee prosthesis surgery, undesirable results such as clot formation in veins due to slowing of circulation in blood vessels (deep vein thrombosis), prosthetic infections, non-healing wound, vascular and nerve injuries, displacement of the prosthesis and fractures in bones adjacent to the prosthesis are uncommon but possible.

The parts that make up the knee prosthesis are abraded over time. Due to abrasion, the parts of the knee prosthesis may separate and loosen from the bone holding it. Today, with the right technique, the life expectancy of knee prosthesis is about 15-20 years. Relaxed knee prosthesis can be removed with a second operation and new prosthesis can be placed, but the life of the second prosthesis is shorter. Patients should undergo regular examination and x-ray examinations after knee replacement surgery for the early detection of such undesirable conditions.



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