A minimally invasive total knee replacement repairs arthritic knee damage by making a 3 to 5-inch incision as opposed to a fully open surgery. Both this technique and the surgeon’s decision to work between muscle fibers as opposed to cutting the tendon improve recovery times and reduces the amount of cuts in surgery.
What is it?
When a patient is experiencing chronic knee pain caused by arthritis, a total knee replacement is necessary. There are many techniques used to conduct total knee replacement surgery, and it is, therefore, appropriate to consult a doctor or surgeon to determine that a minimally invasive procedure is indeed necessary. Total knee replacement involves resurfacing the knee and implanting where the cartilage and bone are removed.
What should I do to prepare?
Prior to a single knee replacement, a patient should meet with his or her doctor and discuss x-rays, current medications, allergies, past medical history and other diagnostic tests. Patients are instructed to stop eating or drinking before midnight the night before surgery and to stop taking blood-thinning medications and aspirin in advance of the procedure. It is also common for a patient to donate his or her blood in advance so that blood is not needed from the blood bank.This minimizes the amount of transfusions that the patient needs to receive. If the patient decides to receive blood from the blood bank, he or she should complete blood tests to ensure a correct donation is received.
What happens during the process?
General anesthesia is recommended for a single knee replacement, which means that the patient will be completely sedated. During this procedure, a surgeon will remove damaged cartilage and bone to resurface the knee. The surgeon begins by opening the surgical region to access the knee. A 3 to 5-inch incision is made, through which the surgeon will conduct all operation. This allows the surgeon to work between the muscle fibers, as opposed to cutting of the tendon. The surgeon uses specialized tools for the removal of the arthritic ends of the bone, which will vary in severity depending on the patient. The surgeon then inserts metal or plastic implants, replacing the damaged cartilage and bone, thus restoring functionality of the knees.
What are the risks and potential complications?
Total single knee replacement comes with associated risks, that include, but are not limited to:
- Blood clots
- Falls after surgery
- Knee pain
- Inability to regain knee function
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