By the time we reach age 50, many of us begin to suffer knee pain from osteoarthritis, which can often be relieved with pain medicine. However, when you begin to feel a level of knee pain that that makes walking difficult and stops you from doing the activities you enjoy, it may be time to consult New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer to discuss knee replacement surgery.
Today, Dr. Meyer is answering the most common questions he receives.
How long does knee replacement surgery take, and what type of anesthesia is administered?
The procedure takes just over an hour and is usually performed with a spinal block, which numbs the body from the waist down. The patient is also sedated to provide a state of calm relaxation.
How is pain controlled following the surgery?
According to your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon, one of the advantages of spinal anesthesia is that it takes several hours to completely leave your system and thus provides effective pain relief immediately following surgery. This requires less pain medication and makes it easier for patients to start moving shortly after their surgery.
How long is the hospital stay?
Our goal is to get patients moving (with assistance) either the day of or the day following surgery. On the second day post-surgery, patients practice going up and down stairs, and when they can reach the bathroom and kitchen, they can go home, which typically happens on the third day.
Why is it important to get up and move following the surgery?
A small number of joint-replacement patients develop blood clots that can lead to other problems. Your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon reports that the risk of developing complications is reduced by movement — which increases blood flow through the leg muscles — joined with blood-thinning medication.
Are there other risks associated with joint replacement surgery?
There are risks associated with all surgery. Patient safety and reducing the risk of possible infection are of paramount importance.
How long does it take to fully recuperate after surgery?
Some people recover very quickly, while other people with significant amounts of scar tissue in their joint take longer. Physical therapy is extremely important following knee replacement.
How long will the knee implant last?
This varies to a degree, but it is not uncommon for the newer generation of implants to last 15 to 20 years. If the joint begins to wear out, your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon can replace the plastic bearing between the thighbone and shinbone relatively easily if we catch it in time. This is monitored through regular X-rays.
If you are experiencing knee pain – or to determine if you are a candidate for knee replacement surgery – don’t hesitate; call the office of New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer today to schedule an appointment.
You don’t have to live in pain!