A single, open knee replacement is a major surgical inpatient procedure in which parts of the knee joint are replaced with artificial parts (called prostheses).
What is it?
When a patient is experiencing chronic knee pain caused by arthritis, a 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 an open procedure is necessary. A total knee replacement involves resurfacing the knee and implanting where the cartilage and bone were 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 will be 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. An open incision is made, which may require the surgeon to cut through 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?
A single knee replacement comes with associated risks, which include, but are not limited to:
- Blood clots
- Falls after surgery
- Knee pain
- Inability to regain knee function
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