When faced with chronic knee pain that can only be relieved through partial or total knee replacement surgery, most patients can’t help but wonder what their quality of life will be like after the procedure. “Will I really feel better with a prosthetic knee?”
Once you’re fully healed, you will indeed be surprised at how much better your new knee feels and how much more easily you can move around.
Prescribed for patients who have various forms of arthritis, knee replacement surgery usually only takes about an hour, and most patients are able to go home within 24 hours. Let’s talk about what you can expect from your new lifestyle after having a knee replacement, and where you can go in the Raleigh and Triangle area to see a world-class orthopedic surgeon.
What Will My New Knee Look Like?
Also known as total knee arthroplasty, knee replacement is just that – a surgical procedure that is performed to replace the damaged or diseased internal knee joint surfaces. From the lower end of the upper leg bone (thigh bone, or femur) to the upper end of the lower leg bone (shin bone, or tibia), your orthopedic surgeon will remove areas arthritis on the ends of the bones and replace them with a prosthetic knee that’s designed just for you, similar to putting a crown on a tooth. The bio-grade metal and plastic components are specially shaped to allow continued motion of the knee.
You may think of a “prosthetic” as something you can see visibly, but in the case of joint replacement surgery, it’s all done internally. Your skin will be sewn right up again and you’ll be as good as new on the outside, besides a scar once you’ve healed.
Life After Knee Replacement Surgery
Immediately following knee replacement surgery, patients are encouraged to stand up and start walking – with the assistance of a physical therapist at first. This is done to help prevent the joints from getting stiff due to swelling, inflammation, or scar tissue. In the days ahead, physical therapy – at-home exercises and with a physical therapist in the clinic – is critical to the success of your knee replacement.
During the first few weeks of recovery, you may need to walk with a walker and then a cane for support. Depending on the demands of your job, many patients return to work in two to four weeks (as long as your profession is not too physical or high-impact). Physical therapy will focus on improving your range of motion and building strength in the adjacent muscles.
It will take up to three months to totally recover from knee replacement surgery, and you may experience some minor aches and pains for a bit longer while your body adjusts. A partial knee replacement will need a shorter recovery period than will a total knee replacement, but goes through the same type of recovery progress.
Getting Back to Normal After Knee Surgery
In time, you will be able to resume most physical activities and low-impact sports, such as walking and cycling. However, you should refrain from high-impact activities such as jogging and running, as this type of activity puts considerable force on your knees.
These few limitations are recommended to enable your knee implants to last as long as possible so you can continue to enjoy an active lifestyle after knee replacement surgery.
Knee Replacement Treatment in Raleigh, North Carolina
If you are experiencing chronic knee pain, consult with a highly qualified orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh to find out your options. Dr. Brett Gilbert is well known among Raleigh orthopedic surgeons, and he can explain the treatment which would work best for you – and help you get back to enjoying everything that life has to offer.
Dr. Gilbert is board-certified and fellowship-trained in advanced hip and knee replacement surgery, and he completed medical school and orthopedic residency training at Duke. With his extensive expertise and compassionate care, Dr. Gilbert can provide an accurate diagnosis, effective treatment options, and follow-up care for your specific condition – as pain-free as possible. Dr. Gilbert can also provide a second opinion about your condition and explain the knee replacement alternatives that are available to you.
To learn more, call (919) 788-8797 today and schedule a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Gilbert, or You can request an appointment with Dr. Gilbert using our appointment request form, or you can self-schedule your appointment here.
We look forward to seeing you!