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Pain in joints. Suggested knee replacement surgery. How much is the recovery time?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2000
Answered : 170 Questions
My Dad has pain in joints. He met with a road accident around 15 years ego.
The doctor that we consulted suggested a knee replacement surgery.
Can you please share some facts about the surgery like
1) How painful is it ?
2) How long will it take to recover?
3) Will the knee be completely functional(as before) after the surgery?
4) Are there any known issues with knee replacement?
Posted Mon, 16 Jul 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Atul Wankhede 33 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.

Knee replacement is an excellent option for your father if he has age related or post traumatic degeneration. The answers to your questions are as following-

1. It is as painful as any other surgery, but with good anaesthesia and appropriate post operative care and early mobilisation, pain should not be a problem at all.

2. Recovery is rapid. Patient is made to stand the very next day and made to walk a day after that. This is done under physical therapist's supervision and support of walker initially till one achieves complete confidence.

3. The knee is much more functional than before surgery since pain and deformity gets corrected. At the same time don't expect it to have athletic outcomes. After all this is a surgery that relieves one of chronic pain, deformity and inability to walk and not necessarily transform the joint into its original youth.

4. There are complications as bad with any other surgery, like anaesthetic complications/ bleeding/ infection/ XXXXXXX vein thrombosis etc. The risks are minimum if surgery is done in a good setup under qualified hands and implants that are used are of international standards.

Hope this answer was informative. If you need more help feel free to ask more. I'm available for follow up.
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Follow-up: Pain in joints. Suggested knee replacement surgery. How much is the recovery time? 12 hours later
Thanks Doctor for the reply.
I also want to know this.
One my dad's legs is shorter than the other. This is due to the fractures that I mentioned earlier. I feel that this could be one of the causes for Arthrites.

1) What can be done to correct this. Will knee replacement fix this ?

2) Is there an expiry date for the replaced knee?
3) Is there any maintenance (medication, exercise, or any other do's and dont's ) for the replaced knee ?

Answered by Dr. Atul Wankhede 48 minutes later
Thanks for replying back.

The shortening your father has needs correction before knee replacement. You are right about him getting arthritis because of that. It needs to be evaluated in terms of level, amount of shortening and correctability. Once that is done, the replaced knee has better chances of long term survival.

There are studies that show artificial joints survive as long as 30 years and counting. If put to use in proper manner they last long without need of revision surgery. Just remember that it's a metal which like any other has wear and tear properties.

The only maintenance required is to keep using the joint and follow the exercises regularly. Pain medications should be kept to minimum.
Wish you all the luck.
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