People who have moderate to severe arthritis in both knees may consider getting a double knee replacement in Louisiana. Double knee replacements have similar results to single-knee replacements. Both groups of patients reported less knee pain and an improved knee function.
However, there are important differences between having a double knee replacement surgery and two single knee replacement surgeries. Today we’re discussing the pros and cons.
Pros of a Double Knee Replacement in Louisiana
The advantages of bilateral knee replacement tend to be associated with cost and convenience.
Less Time Off: Patients need less time off from work and only have to schedule one recovery period. For example, experts suggest that a person may return to a desk job 4 to 6 weeks after knee replacement surgery. A person who has two separate knee replacements will take 4 to 6 weeks off work for each knee.
One Hospital Stay: Double knee replacement patients also tend to spend at least a half-day longer in the hospital than single knee replacement patients, but they only have to stay in the hospital one time. In other words, a double knee replacement might require one 4-day hospital stay while two separate knee replacements might require two 3-day stays, for a total of 6 days.
Physical Therapy: People who get a knee replacement in Louisiana must attend physical therapy appointments 2 to 3 times a week for up to 8 weeks. For people who undergo double knee replacement, these appointments are dedicated to rehabilitating both knees. People who undergo two separate knee replacement surgeries require two courses of physical therapy.
Physical Activity Level: Double knee replacement patients follow a physical therapy regimen and then return to the work and activities they enjoy, uninterrupted. A person who schedules two separate knee replacement surgeries might rehabilitate the first knee and feel frustrated because just when the first knee is feeling great they must undergo a second major surgery.
Decreased Cost: Double knee replacements cost less than two separate surgeries. Experts estimate a medical care costs savings of 18% to 26%. The exact out-of-pocket costs can vary widely depending on many factors, including insurance coverage and location.
Cons of a Double Knee Replacement in Louisiana
While the advantages of bilateral knee replacement are attractive to many patients, they must also consider the disadvantages, which tend to be associated with increased medical risks.
More Blood Loss: Double knee replacement patients are more likely to need a blood transfusion during surgery. Experts estimate that about 40% of people who undergo double knee replacement need a blood transfusion, compared to about 12% of people who undergo a single knee replacement.
Increased Risk of Complications: The majority of double- and single-knee replacement surgeries are successful; however, complications do occur. The risk of complications is higher for people who undergo bilateral knee replacement.
Stay in a Rehabilitation Center: About two-thirds of patients who have double knee replacements are discharged to a rehabilitation center, in contrast with one-quarter of single knee replacement patients. Not all people consider a stay at a rehabilitation center a disadvantage because they offer round-the-clock care, meals, physical therapy, and an opportunity to meet other people who have undergone joint replacements.
Prolonged Anesthesia Time: Replacing two knees requires more surgical time than replacing one knee, and that means the patient must spend more time under general anesthesia. Increasing the length of time under anesthesia increases the risk of complications.
No Good Leg to Stand On: A person who has had both knees replaced does not have a good leg to stand on, making recovery and rehabilitation more complicated. The person cannot rely on a stable leg to steady the body while standing, sitting, and using a walker or crutches.
Because of the increased risk of complications, many surgeons will only perform a bilateral knee replacement if patients are in good physical condition. If you would like to know if you are a candidate for a single or double knee replacement in Louisiana, call our office today to schedule a consultation.