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Surgery: Before & After Total Knee Replacement

3rd Jul 2024 | 0 comments

Total knee replacement surgery is a major knee operation that can dramatically improve the quality of life for patients with debilitating knee pain and mobility issues.
This article is a comprehensive guide on what to expect before, during, and after the surgery, including recovery and pain management strategies.

What is Total Knee Replacement Surgery?

Total knee replacement surgery, or arthroplasty, is a procedure that removes a damaged knee joint with an artificial replacement made of metal and plastic components.

This surgery is usually recommended for patients with severe osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other debilitating knee conditions that haven’t had success with conservative treatments like medication or physical therapy. The surgery is meant to relieve pain, restore function, and improve the patient’s overall quality of life.

What Happens Before Surgery?

Initial consultation and evaluation

Before undergoing a total knee replacement procedure, patients will have a thorough consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon. During this evaluation, the surgeon will check the patient’s medical history, physically examine the patient, and order imaging tests to evaluate the extent of the knee damage.

Preoperative testing and preparation

Patients will undergo several preoperative tests to ensure they are fit for surgery. These tests may be blood work, electrocardiograms (ECGs), and an X-ray. The doctor will also inform the patient about the risks and benefits of a total knee replacement procedure, and what to expect during the recovery process.

Preparing for surgery

In the weeks before the surgery, patients will be provided with a guideline to prepare them and ensure the process goes smoothly. Instructions may include:

  • Stop taking certain medications: Patients may need to discontinue some medications, like blood thinners, to reduce the risk of bleeding.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking can disrupt the healing process, so patients are encouraged to stop smoking.
  • Exercise: Pre-surgery exercises, particularly those that strengthen the muscles around the knee, can aid in recovery.
  • Prepare the home: Arranging the home to make it more accessible post-surgery, such as installing handrails and arranging for help with daily tasks, can facilitate a smoother recovery.

What Happens After Surgery?

Immediate postoperative care

After the total knee replacement surgery, patients are wheeled to a recovery room for close monitoring, as they wake up from anaesthesia. Pain management will begin immediately, and patients may receive medications to prevent blood clots and infections.

Hospital stay

Patients typically stay in the hospital for two to three days after total knee replacement surgery. During this time, the medical team will:

  • Monitor vital signs and incision site: Regular checks to ensure no complications.
  • Manage pain: Administer pain relief through medications.
  • Begin physical therapy: Early mobilisation is crucial for recovery. A physical therapist will assist with gentle exercises to start regaining mobility.

Recovering from Knee Replacement Surgery

At home

Once discharged, patients continue their recovery at home. They must follow the surgeon’s instructions carefully, including taking prescribed medications, performing recommended exercises, and attending follow-up appointments.

Managing daily activities

At home, patients may need help with daily activities, especially in the first few weeks post-total knee replacement surgery. Using assistive devices like walkers or crutches can help with mobility. Some precautions to take are to avoid high-impact activities and follow the recommended guidelines for gradually increasing activity levels.

Physical therapy

During recovery, a physical therapist will work with the patient to restore movement. They will gradually progress to more challenging exercises to build strength in the knee muscles and practise functional exercises to help them return to daily activities.

Pain management

It is normal to feel pain during recovery. Patients may be prescribed pain-relieving medication and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and inflammation and will be taught non-medication strategies to manage pain and stress.

How Much Does Knee Replacement Surgery Cost in Singapore?

A total knee replacement surgery in Singapore can cost differently based on the type of hospital, the surgeon’s expertise, and the patient’s specific requirements.

On average, it can cost about $30,000 or more. This estimate includes hospital fees, surgeon’s fees, anaesthesia, and the cost of the prosthetic implant. It is best to check with your doctor for a more accurate figure.

Total Knee Replacement Surgery in Singapore

Total knee replacement surgery can change the lives of those suffering from severe knee pain and limited mobility. Knowing what to expect before and after the procedure can help patients prepare effectively and ensure a smoother recovery.

Spire Orthopaedic Centre has years of experience performing total knee replacement surgeries. Our spine specialists offer a comprehensive approach to patient care, ensuring that each patient receives personalised attention before, during, and after surgery.

Book an appointment to know more about total knee replacement surgery.